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ChmsTian Classics ErheneaL Liknany 


Nicene and 
Post-Nicene Fathers 
Series I, Volume 6 


Philip Schaff 


ChmsTian Classics 

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•' Elbe Real Libnany 


NPNF1-06. St. Augustine: Sermon on the Mount; 
Harmony of the Gospels; Homilies on the Gospels 


i 


Author(s): 

Publisher: 

Description: 


Subjects: 


Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor) 

Grand Rapids, Ml: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

With over twenty volumes, the Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers is a momentous achievement. Originally gathered 
by Philip Schaff, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a 
collection of writings by classical and medieval Christian 
theologians.The purpose of such a collection is to make their 
writings readily available. The entire work is divided into two 
series. The first series focuses on two classical Christian 
theologians-St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom. St. 
Augustine is one of the most influential and important Chris- 
tian thinkers of all time. In addition to reprinting his most 
popular two works-f/ie Confessions and the City of 
God- these volumes also contain other noteworthy and im- 
portant works of St. Augustine, such as On the Holy Trinity, 
Christian Doctrine, and others. St. John Chrysostom was an 
eloquent speaker and well-loved Christian clergyman. St. 
John took a more literal interpretation of Scripture, and much 
of his work focused on practical aspects of Christianity, par- 
ticularly what is now called social justice. He advocated for 
the poor, and challenged abuses of authority. This volume 
contains Augustine's exegesis of, and homilies on, the Gos- 
pels. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is comprehensive 
in scope, and provide keen translations of instructive and il- 
luminating texts from some of the greatest theologians of the 
Christian church. These spiritually enlightening texts have 
aided Christians for over a thousand years, and remain in- 
structive and fruitful even today! 

Tim Perrine 
CCEL Staff Writer 

Christianity 

Early Christian Literature. Fathers of the Church, etc. 


Contents 



1 


Title Page. 

Contents 2 

Preface. 4 

Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 5 

Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. 13 

Title Page. 13 

Explanation of the First Part of the Sermon Delivered by Our Lord on the Mount, 14 

as Contained in the Fifth Chapter of Matthew. 

Chapter I 15 

Chapter II 19 

Chapter III 22 

Chapter IV 24 

Chapter V 26 

Chapter VI 28 

Chapter VII 31 

Chapter VIII 33 

Chapter IX 34 

Chapter X 38 

Chapter XI 40 

Chapter XII 44 

Chapter XIII 47 

Chapter XIV 49 

Chapter XV 51 

Chapter XVI 53 

Chapter XVII 59 

Chapter XVIII 63 

Chapter XIX 65 

Chapter XX 71 

Chapter XXI 75 

Chapter XXII 78 

Chapter XXIII 82 

iii 



On the Latter Part of Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Contained in the Sixth 
and Seventh Chapters of Matthew. 


85 


Chapter I 

86 

Chapter II 

89 

Chapter III 

93 

Chapter IV 

96 

Chapter V 

99 

Chapter VI 

101 

Chapter VII 

104 

Chapter VIII 

106 

Chapter IX 

108 

Chapter X 

113 

Chapter XI 

115 

Chapter XII 

117 

Chapter XIII 

120 

Chapter XIV 

122 

Chapter XV 

124 

Chapter XVI 

126 

Chapter XVII 

129 

Chapter XVIII 

133 

Chapter XIX 

136 

Chapter XX 

138 

Chapter XXI 

141 

Chapter XXII 

143 

Chapter XXIII 

145 

Chapter XXIV 

146 

Chapter XXV 

149 

he Harmony of the Gospels. 

153 

Title Page. 

153 

Introductory Essay. 

154 

Translator’s Introductory Notice. 

160 

Book I 

163 


IV 



On the Authority of the Gospels. 164 

On the Order of the Evangelists, and the Principles on Which They Wrote. 166 

Of the Fact that Matthew, Together with Mark, Had Specially in View the Kingly 168 

Character of Christ, Whereas Luke Dealt with the Priestly. 

Of the Fact that John Undertook the Exposition of Christ’s Divinity. 170 

Concerning the Two Virtues, of Which John is Conversant with the 171 

Contemplative, the Other Evangelists with the Active. 

Of the Four Living Creatures in the Apocalypse, Which Have Been Taken by 173 

Some in One Application, and by Others in Another, as Apt Figures of the Four 
Evangelists. 

A Statement of Augustin’s Reason for Undertaking This Work on the Harmony 175 

of the Evangelists, and an Example of the Method in Which He Meets Those 
Who Allege that Christ Wrote Nothing Himself, and that His Disciples Made 
an Unwarranted Affirmation in Proclaiming Him to Be God. 

Of the Question Why, If Christ is Believed to Have Been the Wisest of Men on 178 
the Testimony of Common Narrative Report, He Should Not Be Believed to Be 
God on the Testimony of the Superior Report of Preaching. 

Of Certain Persons Who Pretend that Christ Wrote Books on the Arts of Magic. 180 

Of Some Who are Mad Enough to Suppose that the Books Were Inscribed with 181 

the Names of Peter and Paul. 

In Opposition to Those Who Foolishly Imagine that Christ Converted the People 183 

to Himself by Magical Arts. 

Of the Fact that the God of the Jews, After the Subjugation of that People, Was 184 
Still Not Accepted by the Romans, Because His Commandment Was that He 
Alone Should Be Worshipped, and Images Destroyed. 

Of the Question Why God Suffered the Jews to Be Reduced to Subjection. 186 

Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews, Although the People Were Conquered, 1 87 

Proved Himself to Be Unconquered, by Overthrowing the Idols, and by T urning 
All the Gentiles to His Own Service. 

Of the Fact that the Pagans, When Constrained to Laud Christ, Have Launched 1 89 
Their Insults Against His Disciples. 

Of the Fact That, on the Subject of the Destruction of Idols, the Apostles Taught 190 
Nothing Different from What Was Taught by Christ or by the Prophets. 

In Opposition to the Romans Who Rejected the God of Israel Alone. 191 

Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews is Not Received by the Romans, Because 192 

His Will is that He Alone Should Be Worshipped. 


v 



The Proof that This God is the True God. 


193 


Of the Fact that Nothing is Discovered to Have Been Predicted by the Prophets 1 94 

of the Pagans in Opposition to the God of the Hebrews. 

An Argument for the Exclusive Worship of This God, Who, While He Prohibits 195 

Other Deities from Being Worshipped, is Not Himself Interdicted by Other 
Divinities from Being Worshipped. 

Of the Opinion Entertained by the Gentiles Regarding Our God. 196 

Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and Saturn. 1 97 

Of the Fact that Those Persons Who Reject the God of Israel, in Consequence 203 
Fail to Worship All the Gods; And, on the Other Hand, that Those Who Worship 
Other Gods, Fail to Worship Him. 

Of the Fact that the False Gods Do Not Forbid Others to Be Worshipped Along 204 
with Themselves. That the God of Israel is the True God, is Proved by His Works, 

Both in Prophecy and in Fulfilment. 

Of the Fact that Idolatry Has Been Subverted by the Name of Christ, and by the 206 
Faith of Christians According to the Prophecies. 

An Argument Urging It Upon the Remnant of Idolaters that They Should at 208 
Length Become Servants of This True God, Who Everywhere is Subverting 
Idols. 

Of the Predicted Rejection of Idols. 209 

Of the Question Why the Heathen Should Refuse to Worship the God of Israel; 211 


Even Although They Deem Him to Be Only the Presiding Divinity of the 
Elements? 

Of the Fact That, as the Prophecies Have Been Fulfilled, the God of Israel Has 212 
Now Been Made Known Everywhere. 

The Fulfilment of the Prophecies Concerning Christ. 214 

A Statement in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Apostles as Opposed to 217 
Idolatry, in the Words of the Prophecies. 

A Statement in Opposition to Those Who Make the Complaint that the Bliss 219 
of Human Life Has Been Impaired by the Entrance of Christian Times. 

Epilogue to the Preceding. 221 

Of the Fact that the Mystery of a Mediator Was Made Known to Those Who 222 
Lived in Ancient Times by the Agency of Prophecy, as It is Now Declared to 
Us in the Gospel. 

Book II 224 

The Prologue. 225 

vi 



A Statement of the Reason Why the Enumeration of the Ancestors of Christ is 226 

Carried Down to Joseph, While Christ Was Not Born of that Man’s Seed, But 
of the Virgin Mary. 

An Explanation of the Sense in Which Christ is the Son of David, Although He 228 
Was Not Begotten in the Way of Ordinary Generation by Joseph the Son of 
David. 

A Statement of the Reason Why Matthew Enumerates One Succession of 229 

Ancestors for Christ, and Luke Another. 

Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found 232 

in Matthew, Although He Divides Them into Three Successions of Fourteen 
Each. 

A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in 237 

Harmony with Matthew’s in Those Matters Concerning the Conception and 
the Infancy or Boyhood of Christ, Which are Omitted by the One and Recorded 
by the Other. 

On the Position Given to the Preaching of John the Baptist in All the Four 247 
Evangelists. 

Of the Two Herods. 250 

An Explanation of the Statement Made by Matthew, to the Effect that Joseph 251 
Was Afraid to Go with the Infant Christ into Jerusalem on Account of Archelaus, 
and Yet Was Not Afraid to Go into Galilee, Where Herod, that Prince’s Brother, 

Was Tetrarch. 

An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew States that Joseph’s Reason 252 
for Going into Galilee with the Child Christ Was His Fear of Archelaus, Who 
Was Reigning at that Time in Jerusalem in Place of His Father, While Luke Tells 
Us that the Reason for Going into Galilee Was the Fact that Their City Nazareth 
Was There. 

A Statement of the Reason Why Luke Tells Us that ‘His Parents Went to 253 

Jerusalem Every Year at the Feast of the Passover’ Along with the Boy; While 
Matthew Intimates that Their Dread of Archelaus Made Them Afraid to Go 
There on Their Return from Egypt. 

An Examination of the Question as to How It Was Possible for Them to Go 254 
Up, According to Luke’s Statement, with Him to Jerusalem to the Temple, When 
the Days of the Purification of the Mother of Christ Were Accomplished, in 
Order to Perform the Usual Rites, If It is Correctly Recorded by Matthew, that 
Herod Had Already Learned from the Wise Men that the Child Was Born in 
Whose Stead, When He Sought for Him, He Slew So Many Children. 

Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respectively. 256 

vii 



Of the Baptism of Jesus. 262 

Of the Words or the Voice that Came from Heaven Upon Him When He Had 263 
Been Baptized. 

An Explanation of the Circumstance That, According to the Evangelist John, 265 
John the Baptist Says, ‘I Knew Him Not;’ While, According to the Others, It is 
Found that He Did Already Know Him. 

Of the Temptation of Jesus. 266 

Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 267 

Of the Date of His Departure into Galilee. 272 

Of the Lengthened Sermon Which, According to Matthew, He Delivered on 273 


the Mount. 

An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew T ells Us How the Centurion 277 

Came to Jesus on Behalf of His Servant, While Luke’s Statement is that the 
Centurion Despatched Friends to Him. 

Of the Order in Which the Narrative Concerning Peter’s Mother-In-Law is 280 

Introduced. 

Of the Order of the Incidents Which are Recorded After This Section and of 282 
the Question Whether Matthew, Mark, and Luke are Consistent with Each 
Other in These. 

Of the Person Who Said to the Lord, ‘I Will Follow Thee Whithersoever Thou 284 
Goest;’ And of the Other Things Connected Therewith, and of the Order in 
Which They are Recorded by Matthew and Luke. 

Of the Lord’s Crossing the Lake on that Occasion on Which He Slept in the 285 

Vessel, and of the Casting Out of Those Devils Whom He Suffered to Go into 
the Swine; And of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew, Mark, 
and Luke of All that Was Done and Said on These Occasions. 

Of the Man Sick of the Palsy to Whom the Lord Said, ‘Thy Sins are Forgiven 288 
Thee,’ And ‘Take Up Thy Bed;’ And in Especial, of the Question Whether 
Matthew and Mark are Consistent with Each Other in Their Notice of the Place 
Where This Incident Took Place, in So Far as Matthew Says It Happened ‘In 
His Own City,’ While Mark Says It Was in Capharnaum. 

Of the Calling of Matthew, and of the Question Whether Matthew’s Own 291 

Account is in Harmony with Those of Mark and Luke When They Speak of 
Levi the Son of Alphaeus. 

Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate with Sinners, 292 
and that His Disciples Did Not Fast; Of the Circumstance that the Evangelists 
Seem to Give Different Accounts of the Parties by Whom These Objections 

viii 



Were Alleged; And of the Question Whether Matthew and Mark and Luke are 
Also in Harmony with Each Other in the Reports Given of the Words of These 
Persons, and of the Replies Returned by the Lord. 

Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, and of the Woman 296 
Who Touched the Hem of His Garment; Of the Question, Also, as to Whether 
the Order in Which These Incidents are Narrated Exhibits Any Contradiction 
in Any of the Writers by Whom They are Reported; And in Particular, of the 
Words in Which the Ruler of the Synagogue Addressed His Request to the Lord. 

Of the Two Blind Men and the Dumb Demoniac Whose Stories are Related 300 
Only by Matthew. 

Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for 301 

the Multitudes, He Sent His Disciples, Giving Them Power to Work Cures, and 
Charged Them with Many Instructions, Directing Them How to Live; And of 
the Question Concerning the Proof of Matthew’s Harmony Here with Mark 
and Luke, Especially on the Subject of the Staff, Which Matthew Says the Lord 
Told Them They Were Not to Carry, While According to Mark It is the Only 
Thing They Were to Carry; And Also of the Wearing of the Shoes and Coats. 

Of the Account Given by Matthew and Luke of the Occasion When John the 308 

Baptist Was in Prison, and Despatched His Disciples on a Mission to the Lord. 

Of the Occasion on Which He Upbraided the Cities Because They Repented 309 

Not, Which Incident is Recorded by Luke as Well as by Matthew; And of the 
Question Regarding Matthew’s Harmony with Luke in the Matter of the Order. 

Of the Occasion on Which He Calls Them to Take His Yoke and Burden Upon 310 
Them, and of the Question as to the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between 
Matthew and Luke in the Order of Narration. 

Of the Passage in Which It is Said that the Disciples Plucked the Ears of Corn 311 
and Ate Them; And of the Question as to How Matthew, Mark, and Luke are 
in Harmony with Each Other with Respect to the Order of Narration There. 

Of the Man with the Withered Hand, Who Was Restored on the Sabbath-Day; 312 
And of the Question as to How Matthew’s Narrative of This Incident Can Be 
Harmonized with Those of Mark and Luke, Either in the Matter of the Order 
of Events, or in the Report of the Words Spoken by the Lord and by the Jews. 

Of Another Question Which Demands Our Consideration, Namely, Whether, 314 
in Passing from the Account of the Man Whose Withered Hand Was Restored, 

These Three Evangelists Proceed to Their Next Subjects in Such a Way as to 
Create No Contradictions in Regard to the Order of Their Narrations. 

Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew and Luke Regarding the 315 
Dumb and Blind Man Who Was Possessed with a Devil. 

ix 



Of the Occasion on Which It Was Said to Him that He Cast Out Devils in the 316 
Power of Beelzebub, and of the Declarations Drawn Forth from Him by that 
Circumstance in Regard to the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, and with 
Respect to the Two Trees; And of the Question Whether There is Not Some 
Discrepancy in These Sections Between Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists, 
and Particularly Between Matthew and Luke. 

Of the Question as to the Manner of Matthew’s Agreement with Luke in the 317 
Accounts Which are Given of the Lord’s Reply to Certain Persons Who Sought 
a Sign, When He Spoke of Jonas the Prophet, and of the Ninevites, and of the 
Queen of the South, and of the Unclean Spirit Which, When It Has Gone Out 
of the Man, Returns and Finds the House Garnished. 

Of the Question as to Whether There is Any Discrepancy Between Matthew on 319 
the One Hand, and Mark and Luke on the Other, in Regard to the Order in 
Which the Notice is Given of the Occasion on Which His Mother and His 
Brethren Were Announced to Him. 

Of the Words Which Were Spoken Out of the Ship on the Subject of the Sower, 321 
Whose Seed, as He Sowed It, Fell Partly on the Wayside, Etc.; And Concerning 
the Man Who Had Tares Sowed Over and Above His Wheat; And Concerning 
the Grain of Mustard Seed and the Leaven; As Also of What He Said in the 
House Regarding the Treasure Hid in the Field, and the Pearl, and the Net Cast 
into the Sea, and the Man that Brings Out of His Treasure Things New and Old; 

And of the Method in Which Matthew’s Harmony with Mark and Luke is Proved 
Both with Respect to the Things Which They Have Reported in Common with 
Him, and in the Matter of the Order of Narration. 

Of His Coming into His Own Country, and of the Astonishment of the People 323 
at His Doctrine, as They Looked with Contempt Upon His Lineage; Of Matthew’s 
Harmony with Mark and Luke in This Section; And in Particular, of the Question 
Whether the Order of Narration Which is Presented by the Pirst of These 
Evangelists Does Not Exhibit Some Want of Consistency with that of the Other 
Two. 

Of the Mutual Consistency of the Accounts Which are Given by Matthew, Mark, 326 
and Luke of What Was Said by Herod on Hearing About the Wonderful Works 
of the Lord, and of Their Concord in Regard to the Order of Narration. 

Of the Order in Which the Accounts of John’s Imprisonment and Death are 328 

Given by These Three Evangelists. 

Of the Order and the Method in Which All the Four Evangelists Come to the 330 

Narration of the Miracle of the Five Loaves. 


Of the Question as to How the Four Evangelists Harmonize with Each Other 333 
on This Same Subject of the Miracle of the Five Loaves. 


x 



Of His Walking Upon the Water, and of the Questions Regarding the Harmony 336 
of the Evangelists Who Have Narrated that Scene, and Regarding the Manner 
in Which They Pass Off from the Section Recording the Occasion on Which 
He Fed the Multitudes with the Five Foaves. 

Of the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and Mark on the One 339 

Hand, and John on the Other, in the Accounts Which the Three Give Together 
of What Took Place After the Other Side of the Fake Was Reached. 

Of the Woman of Canaan Who Said, ‘Yet the Dogs Eat of the Crumbs Which 340 
Fall from Their Masters’ Tables,’ And of the Harmony Between the Account 
Given by Matthew and that by Fuke. 

Of the Occasion on Which He Fed the Multitudes with the Seven Foaves, and 342 
of the Question as to the Harmony Between Matthew and Mark in Their 
Accounts of that Miracle. 

Of Matthew’s Declaration That, on heaving These Parts, He Came into the 344 
Coasts of Magedan; And of the Question as to His Agreement with Mark in 
that Intimation, as Well as in the Notice of the Saying About Jonah, Which Was 
Returned Again as an Answer to Those Who Sought a Sign. 

Of Matthew’s Agreement with Mark in the Statement About the heaven of the 345 

Pharisees, as Regards Both the Subject Itself and the Order of Narrative. 

Of the Occasion on Which He Asked the Disciples Whom Men Said that He 346 
Was; And of the Question Whether, with Regard Either to the Subject-Matter 
or the Order, There are Any Discrepancies Between Matthew, Mark, and Fuke. 

Of the Occasion on Which He Announced His Coming Passion to the Disciples, 348 

and of the Measure of Concord Between Matthew, Mark, and Fuke in the 
Accounts Which They Give of the Same. 

Of the Harmony Between the Three Evangelists in the Notices Which They 349 
Subjoin of the Manner in Which the Lord Charged the Man to Follow Him 
Who Wished to Come After Him. 

Of the Manifestation Which the Lord Made of Himself, in Company with Moses 350 

and Elias, to His Disciples on the Mountain; And of the Question Concerning 
the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists with Regard to the Order and 
the Circumstances of that Event; And in Especial, the Number of the Days, in 
So Far as Matthew and Mark State that It Took Place After Six Days, While 
Luke Says that It Was After Eight Days. 

Of the Harmony Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts Given of the 352 
Occasion on Which He Spoke to the Disciples Concerning the Coming of Elias. 


xi 



Of the Man Who Brought Before Him His Son, Whom the Disciples Were 353 

Unable to Heal; And of the Question Concerning the Agreement Between These 
Three Evangelists Also in the Matter of the Order of Narration Here. 

Of the Occasion on Which the Disciples Were Exceeding Sorry When He Spoke 354 
to Them of His Passion, as It is Related in the Same Order by the Three 
Evangelists. 

Of His Paying the Tribute Money Out of the Mouth of the Fish, an Incident 355 
Which Matthew Alone Mentions. 

Of the Little Child Whom He Set Before Them for Their Imitation, and of the 356 
Offences of the World; Of the Members of the Body Causing Offences; Of the 
Angels of the Little Ones, Who Behold the Face of the Father; Of the One Sheep 
Out of the Hundred Sheep; Of the Reproving of a Brother in Private; Of the 
Loosing and the Binding of Sins; Of The Agreement of Two, and the Gathering 
Together of Three; Of the Forgiving of Sins Even Unto Seventy Times Seven; 

Of the Servant Who Had His Own Large Debt Remitted, and Yet Refused to 
Remit the Small Debt Which His Fellow-Servant Owed to Him; And of the 
Question as to Matthew’s Harmony with the Other Evangelists on All These 
Subjects. 

Of the Harmony Subsisting Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts Which 358 
They Offer of the Time When He Was Asked Whether It Was Lawful to Put 
Away One’s Wife, and Especially in Regard to the Specific Questions and Replies 
Which Passed Between the Lord and the Jews, and in Which the Evangelists 
Seem to Be, to Some Small Extent, at Variance. 

Of the Little Children on Whom He Laid His Hands; Of the Rich Man to Whom 360 
He Said, ‘Sell All that Thou Hast;’ Of the Vineyard in Which the Labourers 
Were Hired at Different Hours; And of the Question as to the Absence of Any 
Discrepancy Between Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists on These Subjects. 

Of the Occasions on Which He Foretold His Passion in Private to His Disciples; 362 
And of the Time When the Mother of Zebedee’s Children Came with Her Sons, 
Requesting that One of Them Should Sit on His Right Hand, and the Other on 
His Left Hand; And of the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and 
the Other Two Evangelists on These Subjects. 

Of the Absence of Any Antagonism Between Matthew and Mark, or Between 363 

Matthew and Luke, in the Account Offered of the Giving of Sight to the Blind 
Men of Jericho. 

Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the Consistency 365 
of His Account with that of the Other Evangelists, Who Speak Only of the Ass. 


xii 



Of the Expulsion of the Sellers and Buyers from the Temple, and of the Question 368 

as to the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists and John, Who Relates 
the Same Incident in a Widely Different Connection. 

Of the Withering of the Fig-Tree, and of the Question as to the Absence of Any 369 
Contradiction Between Matthew and the Other Evangelists in the Accounts 
Given of that Incident, as Well as the Other Matters Related in Connection with 
It; And Very Specially as to the Consistency Between Matthew and Mark in the 
Matter of the Order of Narration. 

Of the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists in Their Accounts of the 372 
Occasion on Which the Jews Asked the Lord by What Authority He Did These 
Things. 

Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go into His 373 

Vineyard, and of the Vineyard Which Was Let Out to Other Husbandmen; Of 
the Question Concerning the Consistency of Matthew’s Version of These 
Passages with Those Given by the Other Two Evangelists, with Whom He 
Retains the Same Order; As Also, in Particular, Concerning the Harmony of 
His Version of the Parable, Which is Recorded by All the Three, Regarding the 
Vineyard that Was Let Out; And in Reference Specially to the Reply Made by 
the Persons to Whom that Parable Was Spoken, in Relating Which Matthew 
Seems to Differ Somewhat from the Others. 

Of the Marriage of the King’s Son, to Which the Multitudes Were Invited; And 378 

of the Order in Which Matthew Introduces that Section as Compared with 
Luke, Who Gives Us a Somewhat Similar Narrative in Another Connection. 

Of the Harmony Characterizing the Narratives Given by These Three Evangelists 379 

Regarding the Duty of Rendering to Caesar the Coin Bearing His Image, and 
Regarding the Woman Who Had Been Married to the Seven Brothers. 

Of the Person to Whom the Two Precepts Concerning the Love of God and the 380 

Love of Our Neighbour Were Commended; And of the Question as to the Order 
of Narration Which is Observed by Matthew and Mark, and the Absence of 
Any Discrepancy Between Them and Luke. 

Of the Passage in Which the Jews are Asked to Say Whose Son They Suppose 382 
Christ to Be; And of the Question Whether There is Not a Discrepancy Between 
Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists, in So Far as He States the Inquiry to 
Have Been, ‘What Think Ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?’ And Tells Us that to 
This They Replied, ‘The Son of David;’ Whereas the Others Put It Thus, ‘How 
Say the Scribes that Christ is David’s Son?’ 

Of the Pharisees Who Sit in the Seat of Moses, and Enjoin Things Which They 384 
Do Not, and of the Other Words Spoken by the Lord Against These Same 
Pharisees; Of the Question Whether Matthew’s Narrative Agrees Here with 

xiii 



Those Which are Given by the Other Two Evangelists, and in Particular with 
that of Luke, Who Introduces a Passage Resembling This One, Although It is 
Brought in Not in This Order, But in Another Connection. 

Of the Harmony in Respect of the Order of Narration Subsisting Between 387 

Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists in the Accounts Given of the Occasion 
on Which He Foretold the Destruction of the Temple. 

Of the Harmony Subsisting Between the Three Evangelists in Their Narratives 388 

of the Discourse Which He Delivered on the Mount of Olives, When the 
Disciples Asked When the Consummation Should Happen. 

Of the Question Whether There is Any Contradiction Between Matthew and 392 

Mark on the One Hand, and John on the Other, in So Far as the Former State 
that After Two Days Was to Be the Feast of the Passover, and Afterwards Tells 
Us that He Was in Bethany, While the Latter Gives a Parallel Narrative of What 
Took Place at Bethany, But Mentions that It Was Six Days Before the Passover. 

Of the Concord Between Matthew, Mark, and John in Their Notices of the 396 

Supper at Bethany, at Which the Woman Poured the Precious Ointment on the 
Lord, and of the Method in Which These Accounts are to Be Harmonized with 
that of Luke, When He Records an Incident of a Similar Nature at a Different 


Period. 

Of the Harmony Characterizing the Accounts Which are Given by Matthew, 399 
Mark, and Luke, of the Occasion on Which He Sent His Disciples to Make 
Preparations for His Eating the Passover. 

Book III 402 

Prologue. 403 

Of the Method in Which the Four Evangelists are Shown to Be at One in the 404 
Accounts Given of the Lord’s Supper and the Indication of His Betrayer. 

Of the Proof of Their Freedom from Any Discrepancies in the Notices Given 407 
of the Predictions of Peter’s Denials. 


Of the Manner in Which It Can Be Shown that No Discrepancies Exist Between 412 
Them in the Accounts Which They Give of the Words Which Were Spoken by 
the Lord, on to the Time of His Leaving the House in Which They Had Supped. 

Of What Took Place in the Piece of Ground or Garden to Which They Came 414 
on Leaving the House After the Supper; And of the Method in Which, in John’s 
Silence on the Subject, a Real Harmony Can Be Demonstrated Between the 
Other Three Evangelists — Namely, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 


xiv 



Of the Accounts Which are Given by All the Four Evangelists in Regard to What 
Was Done and Said on the Occasion of His Apprehension; And of the Proof 
that These Different Narratives Exhibit No Real Discrepancies. 

Of the Harmony Characterizing the Accounts Which These Evangelists Give 
of What Happened When the Lord Was Led Away to the House of the High 
Priest, as Also of the Occurrences Which Took Place Within the Said House 
After He Was Conducted There in the Nighttime, and in Particular of the 
Incident of Peter’s Denial. 

Of the Thorough Harmony of the Evangelists in the Different Accounts of What 
Took Place in the Early Morning, Previous to the Delivery of Jesus to Pilate; 
And of the Question Touching the Passage Which is Quoted on the Subject of 
the Price Set Upon the Lord, and Which is Ascribed to Jeremiah by Matthew, 
Although No Such Paragraph is Found in the Writings of that Prophet. 

Of the Absence of Any Discrepancies in the Accounts Which the Evangelists 
Give of What Took Place in Pilate’s Presence. 

Of the Mockery Which He Sustained at the Hands of Pilate’s Cohort, and of 
the Harmony Subsisting Among the Three Evangelists Who Report that Scene, 
Namely, Matthew, Mark, and John. 

Of the Method in Which We Can Reconcile the Statement Which is Made by 
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, to the Effect that Another Person Was Pressed into 
the Service of Carrying the Cross of Jesus, with that Given by John, Who Says 
that Jesus Bore It Himself. 

Of the Consistency of Matthew’s Version with that of Mark in the Account of 
the Potion Offered Him to Drink, Which is Introduced Before the Narrative of 
His Crucifixion. 

Of the Concord Preserved Among All the Four Evangelists on the Subject of 
the Parting of His Raiment. 

Of the Hour of the Lord’s Passion, and of the Question Concerning the Absence 
of Any Discrepancy Between Mark and John in the Article of the ‘Third’ Hour 
and the ‘Sixth.’ 

Of the Harmony Preserved Among All the Evangelists on the Subject of the 
Two Robbers Who Were Crucified Along with Him. 

Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke on the 
Subject of the Parties Who Insulted the Lord. 

Of the Derision Ascribed to the Robbers, and of the Question Regarding the 
Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and Mark on the One Hand, 
and Luke on the Other, When the Last-Named Evangelist States that One of 
the Two Mocked Him, and that the Other Believed on Him. 


418 

421 

430 

436 

442 

444 

445 

446 

447 

457 

458 

459 


xv 



Of the Harmony of the Four Evangelists in Their Notices of the Draught of 461 
Vinegar. 

Of the Lord’s Successive Utterances When He Was About to Die; And of the 463 
Question Whether Matthew and Mark are in Harmony with Luke in Their 
Reports of These Sayings, and Also Whether These Three Evangelists are in 
Harmony with John. 

Of the Rending of the V eil of the T emple, and of the Question Whether Matthew 464 

and Mark Really Harmonize with Luke with Respect to the Order in Which that 
Incident Took Place. 

Of the Question as to the Consistency of the Several Notices Given by Matthew, 465 

Mark, and Luke, on the Subject of the Astonishment Felt by the Centurion and 
Those Who Were with Him. 

Of the Women Who Were Standing There, and of the Question Whether 467 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Who Have Stated that They Stood Afar Off, are in 
Antagonism with John, Who Has Mentioned that One of Them Stood by the 
Cross. 

Of the Question Whether the Evangelists are All at One on the Subject of the 469 
Narrative Regarding Joseph, Who Begged the Lord’s Body from Pilate, and 
Whether John’s Version Contains Any Statements at Variance with Each Other. 

Of the Question Whether the First Three Evangelists are Quite in Harmony 471 
with John in the Accounts Given of His Burial. 

Of the Absence of All Discrepancies in the Narratives Constructed by the Four 473 
Evangelists on the Subject of the Events Which Took Place About the Time of 
the Lord’s Resurrection. 

Of Christ’s Subsequent Manifestations of Himself to the Disciples, and of the 484 

Question Whether a Thorough Harmony Can Be Established Between the 
Different Narratives When the Notices Given by the Four Several Evangelists, 
as Well as Those Presented by the Apostle Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles, 
are Compared Together. 

Book IV 504 

Prologue. 505 

Of the Question Regarding the Proof that Mark’s Gospel is in Harmony with 506 
the Rest in What is Narrated (Those Passages Which He Has in Common with 
Matthew Being Left Out of Account), from Its Beginning Down to the Section 
Where It is Said, ‘And They Go into Capharnaum, and Straightway on the 
Sabbath-Day He Taught Them:’ Which Incident is Reported Also by Luke. 


xvi 



Of the Man Out of Whom the Unclean Spirit that Was Tormenting Him Was 
Cast, and of the Question Whether Mark’s Version is Quite Consistent with 
that of Luke, Who is at One with Him in Reporting the Incident. 

Of the Question Whether Mark’s Reports of the Repeated Occasions on Which 
the Name of Peter Was Brought into Prominence are Not at Variance with the 
Statement Which John Has Given Us of the Particular Time at Which the Apostle 
Received that Name. 

Of the Words, 'The More He Charged Them to Tell No One, So Much the More 
a Great Deal They Published It; 1 And of the Question Whether that Statement 
is Not Inconsistent with His Prescience, Which is Commended to Our Notice 
in the Gospel. 

Of the Statement Which John Made Concerning the Man Who Cast Out Devils 
Although He Did Not Belong to the Circle of the Disciples; And of the Lord’s 
Reply, ‘Forbid Them Not, for He that is Not Against You is on Your Part;’ And 
of the Question Whether that Response Does Not Contradict the Other Sentence, 
in Which He Said, ‘He that is Not with Me is Against Me.’ 

Of the Circumstance that Mark Has Recorded More Than Luke as Spoken by 
the Lord in Connection with the Case of This Man Who Was Casting Out Devils 
in the Name of Christ, Although He Was Not Following with the Disciples; And 
of the Question How These Additional Words Can Be Shown to Have a Real 
Bearing Upon What Christ Had in View in Forbidding the Individual to Be 
Interdicted Who Was Performing Miracles in His Name. 

Of the Fact that from This Point on to the Lord’s Supper, with Which Act the 
Discussion of All the Narratives of the Four Evangelists Conjointly Commenced, 
No Question Calling for Special Examination is Raised by Mark’s Gospel. 

Of Luke’s Gospel, and Specially of the Harmony Between Its Commencement 
and the Beginning of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. 

Of the Question How It Can Be Shown that the Narrative of the Haul of Fishes 
Which Luke Has Given Us is Not to Be Identified with the Record of an 
Apparently Similar Incident Which John Has Reported Subsequently to the 
Lord’s Resurrection; And of the Fact that from This Point on to the Lord’s 
Supper, from Which Event Onwards to the End the Combined Accounts of All 
the Evangelists Have Been Examined, No Difficulty Calling for Special 
Consideration Emerges in the Gospel of Luke Any More Than in that of Mark. 

Of the Evangelist John, and the Distinction Between Him and the Other Three. 

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament. 

Title Page. 

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xvii 



Of the agreement of the evangelists Matthew and Luke in the generations of the 53 1 

Lord. 

Of the words of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Chap. iii. 13, 'Then Jesus cometh from 558 
Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.' Concerning the Trinity. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. Chap. v. 3 and 8, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit:' 571 

etc., but especially on that, 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' 

On that which is written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, ’Even so let your light shine 581 

before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is 
in Heaven:' and contrariwise, Chap, vi., 'Take heed that ye do not your 
righteousness before men, to be seen of them.' 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, ‘Whosoever shall say to his brother, thou 585 

fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.’ 


On the Lord’s Prayer in St. Matthew’s Gospel, Chap. vi. 9, etc. to the Competentes. 588 

Again, on Matt. vi. on the Lord’s Prayer. To the Competentes. 599 

Again on the Lord’s Prayer, Matt. vi. To the Competentes. 607 

Again, on the Lord’s Prayer, Matt. vi. To the Competentes. 615 


On the words of the Gospel, Matt. vi. 19, ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon 618 
earth,’ etc. An exhortation to alms-deeds. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. vii. 7, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you;’ etc. An 627 
exhortation to alms-deeds. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. viii. 8, ‘I am not worthy that thou shouldest 635 
come under my roof,’ etc., and of the words of the apostle, 1 Cor. viii. 10, ‘For if 
a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol’s temple,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. viii. 23, ‘And when he was entered into a boat,’ 647 

etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 16, ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the 649 
midst of wolves,’ etc. Delivered on a Festival of Martyrs. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 28, ‘Be not afraid of them that kill the body.’ 652 

Delivered on a Festival of Martyrs. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 2, ‘Now when John heard in the prison the 657 
works of the Christ, he sent by his disciples, and said unto him, art thou He that 
cometh, or look we for another?’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 25, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven 661 

and Earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding,’ 

etc. 


xviii 



Again on the words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 25, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of 668 
Heaven and Earth,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 28, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and 672 
are heavy laden,’ etc. 

Again on the words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 28, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour 675 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xii. 32, ‘Whosoever shall speak a word against 678 
the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that 
which is to come.’ Or, ‘on the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xii. 33, ‘Either make the tree good, and its fruit 705 
good,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xiii. 19, etc., where the Lord Jesus explaineth 709 
the parables of the sower. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xiii. 52, ‘Therefore every scribe who hath been 712 
made a disciple to the kingdom of Heaven,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xiv. 24, ‘But the boat was now in the midst of 716 
the sea, distressed by the waves.’ 

Again on Matt. xiv. 25: Of the Lord walking on the waves of the sea, and of Peter 722 

tottering. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xv. 21, ’Jesus went out thence, and withdrew 727 
into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanitish woman,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xvii. 1, ‘After six days Jesus taketh with Him 736 
Peter, and James, and John his brother,’ etc. 

Again on the words of the Gospel, Matt, xvii., where Jesus showed Himself on the 740 
mount to His three disciples. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xvii. 19, ‘Why could not we cast it out’? etc., 741 
and on prayer. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt, xviii. 7, where we are admonished to beware 748 
of the offences of the world. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt, xviii. 15, ‘If thy brother sin against thee, go, 757 
shew him his fault between thee and him alone;’ and of the words of Solomon, he 
that winketh with the eyes deceitfully, heapeth sorrow upon men; but he that 
reproveth openly, maketh peace. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xvii. 21, ‘How oft shall my brother sin against 767 
me,’ etc. 


xix 



On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 17, ‘If thou wouldest enter into life, keep 773 
the commandments.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 17, ‘If thou wouldest enter into life, keep 775 
the commandments.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 21, ’Go, sell that thou hast, and give to the 780 
poor,’ etc. 

Delivered on the Lord’s Day, on that which is written in the Gospel, Matt. xx. 1, 789 

‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out 
early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xx. 30, about the two blind men sitting by the 799 
way side, and crying out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Thou Son of David.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xxi. 19, where Jesus dried up the fig-tree; and 817 
on the words, Luke xxiv. 28, where He made a pretence as though He would go 
further. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xxii. 2, etc., about the marriage of the king’s 824 
son; against the Donatists, on charity. Delivered at Carthage in the Restituta. 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xxii. 42, where the Lord asks the Jews whose 834 
son they said David was. 

On the same words of the Gospel, Matt. xxii. 42. 841 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xxv. 1, ‘then shall the kingdom of heaven be 844 
likened unto ten virgins.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. xxv. 24, etc., where the slothful servant who 852 
would not put out the talent he had received, is condemned. 

On the words of the Gospel, Mark viii. 5, etc., where the miracle of the seven loaves 853 
is related. 

On the words of the Gospel, Mark viii. 34, ‘If any man would come after me, let 858 
him deny himself,’ etc. And on the words 1 John ii. 15, ‘if any man love the world, 
the love of the Father is not in him.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Mark xiii. 32, ‘But of that day or that hour knoweth 864 
no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke vii. 2, etc.; on the three dead persons whom the 867 
Lord raised. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke vii. 37, ‘And behold, a woman who was in the 873 
city, a sinner,’ etc. On the remission of sins, against the Donatists. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke ix. 57, etc., where the case of the three persons 882 
is treated of, of whom one said, ‘I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,’ and 


xx 



was disallowed: another did not dare to offer himself, and was aroused; the third 


wished to delay, and was blamed. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke x. 2, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous,’ etc. 886 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke x. 16, ‘He that rejecteth you rejecteth me.’ 894 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke x. 38, ‘And a certain woman named Martha 897 

received him into her house,’ etc. 

Again, on the words of the Gospel, Luke x. 38, etc., about Martha and Mary. 901 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xi. 5, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and 904 

shall go unto him at midnight,’ etc. 


On the words of the Gospel, Luke xi. 39, ‘Now do ye Pharisees cleanse the outside 913 
of the cup and the platter,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xii. 15, ‘And he said unto them, take heed, and 916 
keep yourselves from all covetousness.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xii. 35, ‘Let your loins be girded about, and your 923 
lamps burning; and be ye yourselves like,’ etc. And on the words of the 34th Psalm, 
v. 12, ‘what man is he that desireth life,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xii. 56, 58, ‘Ye know how to interpret the face 927 
of the Earth and the Heaven,’ etc.; and of the words, ‘for as thou art going with 
thine adversary before the magistrate, on the way give diligence to be quit of him,’ 
etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xiii. 6, where we are told of the fig-tree, which 930 
bare no fruit for three years; and of the woman which was in an infirmity eighteen 
years; and on the words of the ninth Psalm, v. 19, ‘Arise, O Lord; let not man 
prevail: let the nations be judged in thy sight.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xiii. 21 and 23, where the kingdom of God is 934 
said to be ‘like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of 
meal;’ and of that which is written in the same chapter, ‘Lord, are they few that 
are saved?’ 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xiv. 16, ‘A certain man made a great supper,’ 937 
etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xvi. 9, ‘Make to yourselves friends by means of 943 
the mammon of unrighteousness,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xvii. 3, ‘If thy brother sin, rebuke him,’ etc., 948 

touching the remission of sins. 

On the words of the Gospel, Luke xviii. 1,’They ought always to pray, and not to 952 
faint,’ etc. And on the two who went up into the temple to pray: and of the little 
children who were presented unto Christ. 


xxi 



On the words of the Gospel, Luke xxiv. 36, ‘He himself stood in the midst of them, 956 

and saith unto them, peace be unto you,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, John i. 1, ‘In the beginning was the word, and the 961 
word was with God, and the word was God,’ etc. Against the Arians. 

On the same words of the Gospel, John i„ ‘In the beginning was the word,’ etc. 973 

On the same words, John i. ‘In the beginning was the word,’ etc. 975 

On the same words of John i„ ‘In the beginning was the word,’ etc. 978 

On the words of the Gospel, John i. 10, ‘The world was made through him,’ etc. 981 

On the words of the Gospel, John i. 48, ’When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw 984 

thee,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, John ii. 2, ‘and Jesus also was bidden, and his disciples, 989 
to the marriage.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 2, ‘Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep 992 
Gate a pool,’ etc. 

Again in John v. 2, etc., on the five porches, where lay a great multitude of impotent 995 

folk, and of the pool of Siloa. 

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 19, ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but 1007 
what He seeth the Father doing.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 25, ’Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour 1016 
cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God; and 
they that hear shall live,’ etc.; and on the words of the apostle, ‘things which eye 
saw not,’ etc., 1 Cor. ii. 9. 

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 31, ‘If I bear witness of myself,’ etc.; and on 1025 
the words of the apostle, Galatians v. 16, ‘Walk by the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 
the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 39, ‘Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think 1034 
that in them ye have eternal life,’ etc. Against the Donatists. 

On the words of the Gospel, John vi. 9, where the miracle of the five loaves and 1040 

the two fishes is related. 

On the words of the Gospel, John vi. 53, ‘Except ye eat the flesh,’ etc., and on the 1045 
words of the apostles. And the Psalms. Against the Pelagians. 

On the words of the Gospel, John vi. 55, ’For my flesh is meat indeed, and my 1052 
blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel of John vii. 6, etc., where Jesus said that He was not 1056 
going up unto the feast, and notwithstanding went up. 


XXII 



On the words of the Gospel, John viii. 3 1, ‘If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly 1064 
my disciples,’ etc. 

On the words of the Gospel, John ix. 4 and 31, ‘We must work the works of him 1068 
that sent me,’ etc. Against the Arians. And of that which the man who was born 
blind and received his sight said, ‘We know that God heareth not sinners.’ 

On the same lesson of the Gospel, John ix., on the giving sight to the man that 1074 
was born blind. 

The tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. Of the shepherd, and the hireling, and 1079 
the thief. 

On the words of the Gospel, John x. 14, ‘I am the good shepherd,’ etc. Against the 1090 
Donatists. 

On the words of the Gospel, John x. 30, ‘I and the Father are one.’ 1098 

On the words of the Gospel, John xii. 44, ‘He that believeth on me, believeth not 1102 

on me, but on him that sent me.’ Against a certain expression of Maximinus, a 
bishop of the Arians, who spread his blasphemy in Africa where he was with the 
Count Segisvult. 

On the words of the Gospel, John xiv. 6, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.’ 1106 

On the same words of the Gospel, John xiv. 6, ‘I am the way,’ etc. 1109 

On the words of the Gospel, John xvi. 7, ‘I tell you the truth; it is expedient for 1117 

you that I go away,’ etc. 

On the same words of the Gospel, John xvi. 8, ‘He will convict the world in respect 1121 
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, John xvi. 24, ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my 1125 
name;’ and on the words of Luke x. 17, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject unto 
us in thy name.’ 

On the words of the Gospel, John. xxi. 16, ‘Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?’ 1132 
etc. 

On the same words of the Gospel of John. xxi. 15, ‘Simon, son of John, lovest thou 1134 


me more than these?’ etc. 

Indexes of Subj ects 1136 

Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount 1137 

The Harmony of the Gospels 1141 

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the Gospels 1146 

Indexes 1175 

Index of Scripture References 1176 


xxiii 



1186 


Index of Scripture Commentary 
Greek Words and Phrases 1187 

Hebrew W ords and Phrases 1190 

German W ords and Phrases 1191 

Index of Pages of the Print Edition 1192 


xxiv 




ErheneaL Liknany 


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xxv 


Title Page. 


A SELECT LIBRARY 
OF THE 

NICENE AND 
POST-NICENE FATHERS 

OF 

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 

EDITED BY 

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D., 

PROFESSOR IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK. 

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE 

AND AMERICA. 

VOLUME VI 

ST. AUGUSTIN: 

SERMON ON THE MOUNT 
HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS 

HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 

T&T CLARK 
EDINBURGH 


WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 


1 



Contents 


Book I. 
Book II. 


Bookl. 


CONTENTS. 


EDITOR’S PREFACE. 

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY: ST. AUGUSTIN AS AN EXEGETE. 

By the Rev. David Schley Schaff. 

OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 

Translated by the Rev. William Findlay. 

Revised and Annotated by the Rev. D. S. Schaff. 

Explanation of the first part of the sermon delivered by our Lord on the Mount, as contained 
in the fifth chapter of Matthew. 

On the latter part of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, contained in the sixth and seventh 
chapters of Matthew. 

THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS. 

Translated by the Rev. S. D. F. Salmond, D.D. 

Edited, with Notes, by the Rev. M. B. Riddle, D.D. 

Introductory Notice by Dr. Riddle. 

Introductory Notice by Dr. Salmond. 

The treatise opens with a short statement on the subject of the authority of the Evangelists, their 
number, their order, and the different plans of their narratives. Augustin then prepares for 
the discussion of the questions relating to their harmony, by joining issue in this book with 
those who raise a difficulty in the circumstance that Christ has left no writing of His own, 
or who falsely allege that certain books were composed by Him on the arts of magic. He 
also meets the objections of those who, in opposition to the evangelical teaching, assert that 
the disciples of Christ at once ascribe more to their Master than He really was, when they 
affirmed that He was God, and inculcated what they had not been instructed in by Him, 
when they interdicted the worship of the gods. Against these antagonists he vindicates the 
teaching of the Apostles, by appealing to the utterances of the Prophets, and by showing 
that the God of Israel was to be the sole object of worship, who also, although He was the 
only Deity to whom acceptance was denied in former times by the Romans, and that for 
the very reason that He prohibited them from worshipping other gods along with Himself, 
has now in the end made the Empire of Rome subject to His Name, and among all nations 
has broken their idols in pieces through the preaching of the Gospel, as He had promised 
by His prophets that the event should be. 


2 



Contents 


Book II. 


Book III. 


Book IV. 


In this book Augustin undertakes an orderly examination of the Gospel according to Matthew, 
on to the narrative of the Supper, and institutes a comparison between it and the other 
Gospels by Mark, Luke, and John, with the view of demonstrating a complete harmony 
between the four Evangelists throughout all these sections. 

This book contains a demonstration of the harmony of the Evangelists from the accounts 
of the Supper on to the end of the Gospel, the narratives given by the several writers being 
collated, and the whole arranged in one orderly connection. 

This book embraces a discussion of those passages which are peculiar to Mark, Luke, 
or John. 



SERMONS ON SELECTED LESSONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. 
Translated by the Rev. R. G. MacMullen. 

Edited by Dr. Schaff. 

Preface by Dr. E. B. Pusey. 


3 



Preface. 


PREFACE. 


This volume contains the exegetical and homiletical writings of St. Augustin on the 
Gospels. 

The seventh volume will be devoted to his Commentary on the Gospel and First Epistle 
of John, and the Soliloquies. It will be finished by the 1st of next April. 

The eighth and last volume is reserved for his Commentary on the Psalms, and will 
appear in July, 1888. 

These eight volumes will form the most complete edition of St. Augustin’s Works in 
the English language, embracing the Edinburgh and Oxford translations, and several treatises 
never before translated, with introductions and explanatory notes. 

Arrangements have been made for the regular issue of the Works of St. Chrysostom 
according to the terms of the Publisher’s Prospectus, which so far has been promptly carried 
out. The favourable reception of the preceding volumes by the public and the press, including 
some leading theological journals of Europe (such as The Church Quarterly Review, and 
Harnack’s Theologische Liter aturzeitung), will encourage the editor and publisher to carry 
on this Patristic Library with undiminished energy and zeal. 

Philip Schaff. 

New York, December, 1887. 


4 



Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

ST. AUGUSTIN AS AN EXEGETE. 

BY THE REV. DAVID SCHLEY SCHAFF 


The exegetical writings of Augustin are commentaries on Genesis (first three chapters), 
the Psalms, the Gospel and First Epistle of John, the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistles to 
the Romans and Galatians, and a Harmony of the Gospels. Many of his commentaries, like 
those of Chrysostom, are expository homilies preached to his congregation at Hippo; all are 
practical rather than grammatical and critical. He only covered the first five verses of the 
first chapter of Romans, and found his comments so elaborate, that, from fear of the immense 
proportions a commentary on the whole Epistle would assume, he drew back from the task. 
Augustin’s other writings abound in quotations from Scripture, and pertinent expositions. 
His controversies with the Manichaeans and Donatists were particularly adapted to render 
him thorough in the knowledge of the Bible, and skilled in its use. 

The opinions of Augustin’s ability as an exegete, and the worth of his labors in the de- 
partment of connected Biblical exposition, have greatly differed. Some not only represent 
him at his weakest in this capacity, but disparage his exegesis as of inferior merit. Others 
have given him, and some at the present time still give him, a very high rank among the 
chief commentators of the early Church. Pere Simon, as quoted by Archbishop Trench 
( Sermon on the Mount, p. 65), says, “One must needs read a vast deal in the exegetical 
writings of Augustin to light on any thing which is good.” Reuss expresses himself thus: 
“The fact is, that his exegesis was the weak side of the great man” ( Gesch . d. heil. Schriften 
N. T. p. 263). Farrar, in his History of Interpretation (p. 24), declares his comments to be 
“sometimes painfully beside the mark,” and in general depreciates the value of Augustin’s 
expository writings. 

On the other hand, the student is struck with the profound esteem in which Augustin 
was held as an interpreter of Scripture during the Middle Ages. His exposition was looked 
upon as the highest authority; and a saying was current, that, if one had Augustin on his 
side, it was sufficient (Si Augustinus adest, sufficit ipse tibi). So powerful was his influence, 
that Rupert of Deutz, in the preface to his Commentary on St. John, deemed it necessary to 
state, in part in vindication of his own effort, that, though the eagle wings of the Bishop of 
Hippo overshadowed the Gospel, he did not exhaust the right of all Christians to handle 
the Gospel. The Reformers quote Augustin more frequently than any Father, and were 
greatly indebted to his writings, especially for their views on sin and grace. Among modern 
opinions according to him a high rank in this department may be mentioned two. The Rev. 


5 



Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


H. Browne, in the preface to the translation of Augustin’s Homilies on St. John, in the Oxford 
Library of the Fathers (I. vi.), is somewhat extravagant in his praise, when he says, that, “as 
an interpreter of the Word of God, St. Augustin is acknowledged to stand at an elevation 
which few have reached, none surpassed.” Archbishop Trench, in the essay on Augustin as 
an interpreter of Scripture, prefixed to his edition of the Sermon on the Mount, accords 
equal praise, and speaks specifically of the “tact and skill with which he unfolded to others 
the riches which the Word contains” (p. 133). 

The truth certainly is not with those who minimize Augustin’s services in the department 
of exposition. Whether we compare him with ancient or modern commentators, he will fall 
behind the greatest in some particulars; but in profundity of insight into the meaning of the 
text, in comprehensive knowledge of the whole Scriptures, in simplicity of spiritual aim, he 
stands in the first rank. It is as a contributor to theological and religious thought that he 
asserts his eminence. Exposition is something more than bald textual and lexicographical 
comment: it aims also at a spiritual perception of the truth as it is in Christ, and requires a 
capacity to extract, for the spiritual nutriment of the reader, the vital forces of the Scriptures. 
In this sense Augustin is eminently worthy of study. Of textual details, he gives only the 
barest minimum of any value. His mistakes, arising out of his slender philological apparatus 
and his reverence for the LXX., are numerous and glaring. He often wanders far away from 
the plain meaning of the text, into allegorical and typical fancies, like the other Fathers, and 
many of the older Protestant commentators. He was not prepared for, nor did he aim at, 
grammatico-historical exegesis in the modern sense of the word; but he possessed extraordin- 
ary acumen and depth, spiritual insight, an uncommon knowledge of Scripture as a whole, 
and a pious intention to bring the truth to the convictions of men, and to extend the kingdom 
of Christ. 

As to Augustin’s special equipment for the work of an exegete and on his exegetical 
principles, the following may be added: — 

Exegetical Equipment. 

1. Augustin had no knowledge of Hebrew ( Confessions , xi. 3; in this ed. vol. i. p. 164). 
His knowledge of Greek was only superficial, and far inferior to that of Jerome (vol. i. p. 9). 
He depended almost entirely on the imperfect old Latin version before its revision by Jerome, 
and was at first even prejudiced against this revision, the so-called Vulgate. But it should 
be remembered that only two of the great expositors of the ancient Church were familiar 
with Hebrew, — Origen and Jerome. Augustin knew only a few Hebrew words. In the treatise 
on Christian Doctrine (ii. 11, 16; this ed. vol. ii. p. 540) he adduces the words Amen and 
Hallelujah as being left untranslated on account of the sacredness of the original forms, and 
the words Racha and Hosanna as being untranslatable by any single Latin equivalents. In 


6 



Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


the Sermon on the Mount (i. 9, 23) he refers again to Racha, and defends its Hebrew origin 
as against those who derived it from the Greek term petKoe; (a rag). 

Augustin’s linguistic attainments seem to have included familiarity with Punic (Sermon 
on the Mount, ii. 14, 47). The Phoenician origin of the North African people, the location 
of his birthplace and his episcopal diocese, furnish an explanation of this. 

2. For the Old Testament, Augustin used, besides the Latin version, occasionally the 
Septuagint, and had at hand the versions of Symmachus, Theodotion, and Aquila ( Qucest . 
in Num. 52). He had profound reverence for the LXX., and was inclined to give credit to 
the Jewish tradition that each of the translators was confined in a separate cell, and on 
comparing their work, which they had accomplished without communication with each 
other, found their several versions to agree, word for word. He held that the original was 
given through them in Greek by the special direction of the Holy Spirit, and in such a way 
as to be most suitable for the Gentiles (Christian Doctrine, ii. 15, 22; this ed. p. 542). He de- 
clared that the Latin copies were to be corrected from the LXX., which was as authoritative 
as the Hebrew. Such a claim for the authority of the Greek translation would make a 
knowledge of the Hebrew almost unnecessary. 

This excessive reverence for the LXX. has led Augustin to uphold, in his exegesis of the 
Old Testament, all its errors of translation, which a different view, coupled with a knowledge 
of Hebrew, would in most cases have prevented him from accepting. Even at its plain and 
palpable mistakes he takes no offence. He accepts the translation, “Yet three days and 
Nineveh shall be overthrown,” as of equal authority with the “forty days” of the original, 
claiming a special symbolic meaning for both. 

3. For the New Testament, Augustin used some Latin translation or translations older 
than the Vulgate. He declares the Latin translations to be without number ( Christian Doctr. 
ii. 1 1, 16; this ed. vol. ii. p. 540). There was already in his day “an endless diversity” of readings 
in the Latin manuscripts. He vindicated for the Greek original the claim of final authority, 
to which the Latin copies were to yield. As there was likewise diversity of text among the 
Greek copies, he laid down the rule, that those manuscripts were to be chosen for compar- 
ison by the Latin student which were preserved in the churches of greater learning and re- 
search ( Christian Doctr. ii. 15, 22; in this ed. ii. p. 543). Not infrequently does Augustin cite 
the readings of the Greek. In some cases he makes references to passages where there is a 
conflict of text in the Latin authorities. He differs quite largely from Jerome’s Vulgate, to 
which he offered opposition, on the ground that a new translation might unsettle the faith 
of some. In these variations of construction and language he was sometimes nearer the ori- 
ginal than Jerome. Sometimes he does not approximate so closely. As a matter of interest, 
and for the convenience of the reader, the differences of Augustin’s text and the Vulgate 
will be found, in all important cases, noted down in this edition of the Sermon on the Mount. 


7 



Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


Examples of Augustin’s improvement upon the Vulgate are the omission of the clause, 
“and despitefully use you” (et calumniantibus vos, Matt. v. 44), the use of quotidianum 
panem (“daily bread”) instead of supersubstantialem, and of inferas (“bring”) instead of 
inducas (“lead”), in the fourth and sixth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. vi. 11, 12). In 
reference to the last passage, it must be said, however, that he notes a difference in the Latin 
mss., some using infero, some induco-, and while he adopts the former verb, he finds the 
terms equivalent in meaning ( Serm . on the Mt. ii. 9, 30). 

4. Augustin’s textual and grammatical comments are few in number, but they cannot 
be said to be wanting in all value. A few instances will suffice for a judgment of their merit: — 

In the Harmony of the Gospels (ii. 29, 67), writing of the daughter of Jairus (Matt. ix. 
29), he mentions that some codices contain the reading “woman” ( mulier ) for “damsel.” 
Commenting on Matt. v. 22, “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause,” he in- 
cludes the expression “without a cause” (dvcrj) without even a hint of its spuriousness (Serm. 
on the Mt. i. 9, 25); but in his Retractations (i. 19. 4) he makes the correction, “The Greek 
manuscripts do not contain sine causa.” Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, the Vulgate and 
the Revised English Version, in agreement with the oldest mss., omit the clause. He refers 
to a conflict of the Greek and Latin text of Matt. v. 39 (“Whosoever shall smite thee on thy 
right cheek”), and follows the authority of the Greek in omitting the adjective “right” (Serm. 
on the Mt. i. 19, 58). At Matt. vi. 4 he casts out, on the authority of the Greek, the adverb 
palam (“openly”), which was found in many Latin translations (as it is also found in the 
Textus Receptus, but not in the Vulgate, and the Sinaitic, B, D, and other mss.). Commenting 
on Matt. vii. 12, “Wherefore all things whatsoever ye would that men,” etc., he refers to the 
addition of “good” before “things” by the Latins, and insists upon its erasure on the basis 
of the Greek text (Serm. on the Mt. ii. 22, 74). 

On occasion, though very rarely, he quotes the Greek, as in the Sermon on the Mount 
(vq rvv Kauxqoiv, i. 17, 51; ipariov, i. 19, 60), in confirmation of his opinions of the text. 

At other times he compares Greek and Latin terms of synonymous or kindred meanings. 
One of the most important of these is the passage (City of God, x. 1; this ed. vol. ii. p. 181) 
where he draws a clear distinction between Aarpefa, GpqoKefa, euaefteia, 0eoae(3eia. Other 
examples of the kind under review are given by Trench (p. 20 sqq.). 

It is evident that Augustin’s equipment was defective from the stand-point of the modern 
critical exegete. It would be wrong, however, to say that he shows no concern about textual 
questions. But his exegetical power shows itself in other ways than minute textual investig- 
ation, — in comprehensive comparison of Scripture with Scripture, and penetrating spiritual 
vision. To these qualities he adds a purpose to be exhaustive, sparing no pains to develop 
the full meaning of the passage under review. More exhaustive discussions can hardly be 
found, to take a single example, than that on Matt. v. 25, “Agree with thine adversary quickly” 
(Serm. on the Mt. xi. 31, where, however, the view least reasonable is taken), or spiritually 


Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


satisfactory ones than the discussion of the gradation of sin and its punishment (Matt. v. 
21, 22; Serm. on the Mt. ix. 22), and “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. vii. i), or 
pungently suggestive than the handling of the words of our Lord at the marriage feast at 
Cana: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John ii. 4; Homily VIII.), or more indicative 
of great principles underlying the vindication to the evangelists of a true historical character 
and of independence of each other (at least in minor details) than discussions like that about 
the differences in the details of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, alone common 
of the miracles to the fourfold Gospel (a sort of prelude to works like Blunt’s Undesigned 
Coincidences ), and the relation of this miracle to the miracle of the seven loaves ( Harmony , 
xlvi.-l). 


Exegetical Principles. 

Augustin has laid down in a separate treatise a code of exegetical principles. His Chris- 
tian Doctrine (vol. ii. of this series) is the earliest manual of Biblical hermeneutics. In spite 
of irrelevant and lengthy digressions, it contains many suggestions of value, which have not 
been improved upon in modern treatises on the subject. 

1. He emphasizes Hebrew and Greek scholarship as an important aid to the expositor, 
and an essential condition of the interpretation of the figurative language of Scripture (ii. 
11, 16; 16, 23, this ed., pp. 539, 543). 

2. He will have his interpreter acquainted with sacred geography (ii. 29, 45, p. 549), 
natural history (ii. 16, 24, p. 543; 29, 45, p. 549), music (ii. 16, 26, p. 544), chronology (ii. 

28, 42, p. 549) and the science of numbers (ii. 16, 25, p. 543), natural science generally (ii. 

29, 45 sqq., p. 549 sqq.), history (ii. 28, 43, p. 549), dialectics (ii. 31, 48, p. 550), and the 
writings of the ancient philosophers (ii. 40, 60, p. 554). He was the first to suggest a work 
which has been realized in our dictionaries of the Bible. Pertinent to the subject he says, 
“What some men have done in regard to all words and names found in Scripture, in the 
Hebrew and Syriac and Egyptian and other tongues, taking up and interpreting separately 
such as were left in Scripture without interpretation; and what Eusebius has done in regard 
to the history of the past. . .1 think might be done in regard to other matters.. . .For the ad- 
vantage of his brethren a competent man might arrange in their several classes, and give an 
account of, the unknown places, and animals and plants, and trees and stones and metals, 
and other species of things mentioned in Scripture” (ii. 39, 59, p. 554). It is, in view of this 
sage suggestion, almost incomprehensible that Augustin pays no attention to these subjects 
in his commentaries. Jerome, on the other hand, is quite rich in these departments. 

3. He presses the view that the Scripture is designed to have more interpretations than 
one (Christ. Doctr. iii. 27, 38 sq.; this ed. p. 567). Augustin constantly applies this canon 
(e.g., on the petition, “Thy will be done,” Sermon on the Mount, ii. 7, 21-23). He adopted 
the seven rules of the Donatist Tichonius as assisting to a deep understanding of the Word. 


9 


Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


These rules relate (1) to the Lord and His body, (2) to the twofold division of the Lord’s 
body, (3) to the promises and the Law, (4) to species and genus, (5) to times, (6) to recapit- 
ulation, (7) to the devil and his body (Christ. Doctr. iii. 30, 42, pp. 568-573). He explains 
and illustrates these laws at length, but denies that they exhaust the rules for discovering 
the hidden truth of Scripture. 

4. He commends the method of interpreting obscure passages by the light of passages 
that are understood, and prefers it before the interpretation by reason (Christ. Doctr. iii. 29, 
39, p. 567). 

5. The spirit and intent of the interpreter are of more importance than verbal accuracy 
and critical acumen (a qualification not always too strictly insisted upon in these modern 
days of commentators and critical Biblical study). One must be in sympathy with the Gospel 
of Christ to interpret its records. 1 Even the mistakes of an exegete, properly disposed, may 
confirm religious faith and character; and so far forth are his labors to be commended, 
though he himself is to be corrected, that he err not again after the same manner. “If the 
mistaken interpretation,” he says, “tends to build up love, which is the end of the command- 
ment, the interpreter goes astray in much the same way as a man who, by mistake, quits the 
highroad, but yet reaches, through the fields, the same place to which the road leads” ( Christ . 
Doctr. i. 36, 41 sq.; ii. p. 533). 

That Augustin followed his own canons of interpretation, his writings show. He does 
not hesitate to put more than one interpretation upon a text (as especially in the Psalms), 
and none has been more elaborate in comparing Scripture with Scripture than he. If he had 
possessed the familiarity with the Hebrew that he recommends so strongly to others, he 
would have been preserved from the misinterpretations with which his commentaries on 
the Old Testament abound. 



Use of Allegory. 

Augustin’s use of allegory has exposed him to much harsh criticism. What was the 
practice of all, ought not to be considered a mortal fault in one. None of the ancient expos- 
itors were free from it. Some of the modern expositors, except as their works are designed 
only as a critical arsenal for the student, are defective because of all absence of the allegorical 
element. 

Where Scripture itself has led the way, as in the case of the allegory of Hagar and Sarah 
(Gal. iv.) and other cases, the uninspired penman will be pardoned if he follow. The use of 
the allegorical method, however, was carried to the most unreasonable excess, reaching its 
culmination in Gregory’s Commentary on Job. That writer finds that the patriarch of Uz 


1 On the principle that Davidica intelligit, qui Davidica patitur, or, as the German couplet runs, — “Wer den 
Dichter will verstehen Muss in Dichters Lande gehen.” 


10 


Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


represents Christ, his sons the clergy, his three daughters the three classes of the laity who 
are to worship the Trinity, his friends the heretics, the oxen and she-asses the heathen, etc. 
The frequent extravagance of Augustin, proceeding out of his intellectual and Scriptural 
exuberance, cannot be commended; but it will be found that his allegory is seldom common- 
place, and mingled with it, where it is most vicious, are comments of rare aptness and 
common sense. In the Old Testament he looks upon almost every character and event as 
symbolic of Christ and Christian institutions. But, as Trench well says, “it is indeed far better 
to find Christ everywhere in the Old Testament than to find Him nowhere” (p. 54). 

In his effort to display the unity and harmony of all Scripture (to which he was forced 
by the controversy with the Manichaeans) he often strains after comparisons; and this came 
to be so much of a habit with him, that, where he had no special purpose to gain, he is guilty 
of the same excess. An instance among many is furnished in the opening chapters of the 
Sermon on the Mount (iv. 11), where a close comparison is instituted between the Beatitudes 
and the seven Spiritual operations of Isa. xi. 2, 3. The historical element is nowhere denied, 
but something else is constantly being superinduced upon it, especially in the Old Testament. 

A single illustration of Augustin’s allegorical interpretation will suffice. Turning away 
from the Psalms, where his imagination is particularly fertile along this line, I extract one 
on the parable of the five loaves and two fishes, as found in the XXIV. Homily on John. The 
five loaves mean the five Books of Moses. They are not wheaten, but barley, because they 
belong to the Old Testament. The nature of barley is such that it is hard to be got at, as the 
kernel is set in a coating of husk which is tenacious and hard to be stripped off. Such is the 
letter of the Old Testament, enveloped in a covering of carnal sacraments. The little lad 
represents the people of Israel, which, in its childishness of mind, carried but did not eat. 
The two fishes signify the persons of the Priest and King, which therefore point to Christ. 
The multiplication of the loaves signifies the exposition into many volumes of the five Books 
of Moses. There were five thousand people fed, because they were under the Law, which is 
unfolded in five books. “They sat upon the grass;” that is, they were carnally minded, and 
rested in carnal things. The “fragments” are the truths of hidden import which the people 
cannot receive, and which were therefore entrusted to the twelve apostles. 

The excessive taste for this style of interpretation, in which the homilists and Biblical 
writers of a thousand years had revelled, was sternly rebuked by the Reformers. Especially 
did Luther utter his protest, on the ground that the fancies into which this method was apt 
to lead had a tendency to shake confidence in the literal truth of the sacred volume. He re- 
marks, “Augustin said beautifully that a figure proves nothing;” but, probably from the high 
regard he had for the great theologian, he did not condemn his allegorizing exegesis. 

2 The passage is quoted in full by Trench (p. 64). His work, St. Augustin on the Sermon on the Mount , 4th 
ed., London, 1881, contains an elaborate introductory essay on Augustin as an Interpreter of Scripture. His use 


11 


Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete. 


However much the great African bishop may have laid himself open to the rebuke of a 
more critical and mechanical age in this regard and others, his exegesis will continue to be 
admired for the diligence with which the sacred text is scanned, the reverent frame of heart 
with which it is approached, and the rich treasures of spiritual truth which it brings forth 
to the willing and devout reader. 


of allegory is considered in a separate chapter (iv). An older work is by Clausen: Augustinus, Sac. Script. Interpres , 
pp. 267, Berol. 1828. 


12 



Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

k 

xiii 

OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT, 

ACCORDING TO MATTHEW. 

[De Sermone Domini in Monte secundum Matthaeum .] 

TRANSLATED BY 

THE REV. WILLIAM FINDLAY, M.A., 

LARKHALL. 

REVISED AND ANNOTATED BY 

THE REV. D. S. SCHAFF, 

KANSAS CITY. 


13 



Explanation of the First Part of the Sermon Delivered by Our Lord on the... 


OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 


Book I. 


Explanation of the first part of the sermon delivered by our Lord on the mount, as contained 
in the fifth chapter of Matthew. 



14 



Chapter I 


Chapter I. 

1. If any one will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ 
spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will 
find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life: and 
this we do not rashly venture to promise, but gather it from the very words of the Lord 
Himself. For the sermon itself is brought to a close in such a way, that it is clear there are 
in it all the precepts which go to mould the life. For thus He speaks: “Therefore, whosoever 
heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built 
his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, 
and beat 3 4 upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one 
that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, I will liken 5 unto a foolish man, 
which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the 
winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Since, therefore, 
He has not simply said, “Whosoever heareth my words,” but has made an addition, saying, 
“Whosoever heareth these words of mine,” He has sufficiently indicated, as I think, that 
these sayings which He uttered on the mount so perfectly guide the life of those who may 
be willing to live according to them, that they may justly be compared to one building upon 
a rock. I have said this merely that it may be clear that the sermon before us is perfect in all 
the precepts by which the Christian life is moulded; for as regards this particular section a 
more careful treatment will be given in its own place. 6 

3 Similabo. The Vulgate, conforming more closely to the Greek, has assimilabitur, “shall be likened.” 

4 Offenderunt; the Vulgate has irruerunt. 

5 The Vulgate, more closely conforming to the Greek, has similis erit. 

6 The main purpose of the Sermon on the Mount has been variously stated. Augustin regards it as a perfect 
code of morals. Tholuck ( Die Bergpredigt) calls it “the Magna Charta of the kingdom of heaven.” Lange says, 
“The grand fundamental idea is to present the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven in its relation to that of 
the Old Testament theocracy.” Geikie declares it to be the “formal inauguration of the kingdom of God and the 
Magna Charta of our faith.” Edersheim regards it as presenting “the full delineation of the ideal man of God, of 
prayer, and of righteousness; in short, of the inward and outward manifestation of discipleship.” Meyer (Corn. 
6th ed. p. 210) says that the aim of Jesus is, as the One who fulfils the Law and the Prophets, to present the 
moral conditions of participation in the Messianic kingdom. Weiss (Leben Jesu) speaks of it as being “as little 
an ethical discourse as a new proclamation of law. It is nothing else than an announcement of the kingdom of 
God, in which is visible everywhere the purpose of Jesus to distinguish between its righteousness and the right- 
eousness revealed in the Old Testament as well as that taught by the teachers of his day.” The Sermon on the 
Mount is a practical discourse, containing little of what, in the strict sense, may be termed the credenda of 
Christianity. It is the fullest statement of the nature and obligations of citizenship in God’s kingdom. It is note- 
worthy for its omissions as well as for its contents. No reference is made to a priesthood, a ritual, sacred places, 


15 



Chapter I 


2. The beginning, then, of this sermon is introduced as follows: “And when He saw the 
great multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came 
unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying.” If it is asked what the 
“mountain” means, it may well be understood as meaning the greater precepts of righteous- 
ness; for there were lesser ones which were given to the Jews. Yet it is one God who, through 



or offerings. There is almost a total absence of all that is sensuous and external. It deals with the motives and 
affections of the inner man, and so comes into comparison and contrast with the Mosaic law as well as with the 
Pharisaic ceremonialism of the Lord’s Day. The moral grandeur of the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount 
has been acknowledged by believer and sceptics alike. Renan (Life of Jesus) says, “The Sermon on the Mount 
will never be surpassed.” On the 15th of October, 1852, two weeks before he died, Daniel Webster wrote and 
signed his name to the following words, containing a testimony to this portion of Scripture, which he also 
ordered placed upon his tombstone: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.. . .My heart has assured me and 
reassured me that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be a divine reality. The Sermon on the Mount cannot be a 
merely human production. This belief enters into the very depth of my conscience. The whole history of man 
proves it” (Curtis, Life of Webster, ii. p. 684). The relation which the reports of Matthew and Luke (vi. 20-49) 
sustain to each other is ignored by Augustin here (who, except in rare cases, omits all critical discussion), but 
is discussed in his Harmony of the Gospels, ii. 19. The agreements are numerous. The differences are striking, 
and concern the matter, the arrangement, the language, and the setting of the sermon. Matthew has a hundred 
and seven verses, Luke thirty. Matthew has seven (or eight) beatitudes, Luke but four, and adds four woes which 
Matthew omits. According to the first evangelist Jesus spoke sitting on a mountain: according to the third 
evangelist He spoke standing, and in the plain. The views are, (1) Matthew and Luke give accounts of the same 
discourse (Origen, Chrysostom, Calvin, Tholuck, Meyer, Keil, Schaff, Weiss). (2) They report different sermons 
spoken at different times (Augustin not positively, Storr, Plumptre). This is not probable, as so much of the 
matter in both is identical: both begin with the same beatitude, and close with the same parable; and both accounts 
are followed with the report of the healing of the centurion’s servant. (3) The two sermons were delivered in 
close succession on the summit of the mountain to the disciples, and on the plain to the multitude (Lange). 
Alford confesses inability to reconcile the discrepancy. 

7 Mult as turbas. The Vulgate omits mult as. 

8 The Greek has the definite article to opoq. Some, on this ground, explain the expression to mean “mountain 
region.” According to the Latin tradition of the time of the Crusaders, the exact spot is the Horns of Hattin, 
which Dean Stanley ( Sinai and Palestine, Am. ed. p. 436) and most others adopt. The hill, which is horned like 
a saddle, is south-west of Capernaum, and commands a good view of the Lake of Galilee. It seems to meet the 
requirements of the text. Robinson says there are a dozen other hills as eligible as this one. Tholuck enlarges 
upon the “beautiful temple of nature in which the Lord delivered the sermon.” Matthew Henry says, “When the 
law was given, the Lord came down upon the mountain, now the Lord went up; then He spake in thunder and 
lightning, now in a still, small voice; then the people were ordered to keep their distance, now they are invited 
to draw near, — a blessed change!” 


16 



Chapter I 


His holy prophets and servants, according to a thoroughly arranged distribution of times, 
gave the lesser precepts to a people who as yet required to be bound by fear; and who, through 
His Son, gave the greater ones to a people whom it had now become suitable to set free by 
love. Moreover, when the lesser are given to the lesser, and the greater to the greater, they 
are given by Him who alone knows how to present to the human race the medicine suited 
to the occasion. Nor is it surprising that the greater precepts are given for the kingdom of 
heaven, and the lesser for an earthly kingdom, by that one and the same God, who made 
heaven and earth. With respect, therefore, to that righteousness which is the greater, it is 
said through the prophet, “Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God:” 9 and this may 
well mean that the one Master alone fit to teach matters of so great importance teaches on 
a mountain. Then He teaches sitting, as behooves the dignity of the instructor’s office; and 
His disciples come to Him, in order that they might be nearer in body for hearing His words, 
as they also approached in spirit to fulfil His precepts. “And He opened His mouth, and 
taught them, saying.” The circumlocution before us, which runs, “And He opened His 
mouth,” perhaps gracefully intimates by the mere pause that the sermon will be somewhat 
longer than usual, unless, perchance, it should not be without meaning, that now He is said 
to have opened His own mouth, whereas under the old law He was accustomed to open the 
mouths of the prophets. 10 

3. What, then, does He say? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven.” We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, “All is vanity 
and presumption of spirit;” * 11 but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride: usually 
also the proud are said to have great spirits; and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called 
spirit. And hence it is written, “Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of tempest.” “ But, indeed, who 
does not know that the proud are spoken of as puffed up, as if swelled out with wind? And 

1 3 

hence also that expression of the apostle, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” 
And “the poor in spirit” are rightly understood here, as meaning the humble and God- 
fearing, i.e. those who have not the spirit which puffeth up. Nor ought blessedness to begin 
at any other point whatever, if indeed it is to attain unto the highest wisdom; “but the fear 
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;” 14 for, on the other hand also, “pride” is entitled 


9 Ps. xxxvi. 6. 

10 Chrysostom, Euthymius, etc., see in the expression the implication that Christ also taught by works. 
Tholuck, with many modern commentators, finds in it a reference to “loud and solemn utterance.” 

11 Eccles. i. 14. 

12 Ps. cxlviii. 8. 

13 1 Cor. viii. 1. 


14 Ps. cxi. 10. 


17 


Chapter I 


“the beginning of all sin .” 15 Let the proud, therefore, seek after and love the kingdoms of 
the earth; but “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven .” 16 


15 Ecclus. x. 13. 

16 Not the intellectually poor (Fritzsche), nor the poor in worldly goods, as we might gather from Luke (vi. 
20). Roman-Catholic commentators have found here support for the doctrine of voluntary poverty (Cornelius 
a Lapide, Maldonatus, etc.). The Emperor Julian, in allusion to this passage and others like it, said he would only 
confiscate the goods of Christians, that they might enter as the poor into the kingdom of heaven (Lett, xliii.). 
Some (Olearius, Michaelis, Paulus) have joined “in spirit” with “blessed.” Augustin explains the passage of those 
who are not elated or proud, taking “spirit” in an evil sense. In another place he says, “Blessed are the poor in 
their own spirit, rich in God’s Spirit, for every man who follows his own spirit is proud.” He then compares him 
who subdues his own spirit to one living in a valley which is filled with water from the hills (En. in Ps. cxli. 4). 
The most explain of those who are conscious of spiritual need (Matt. xi. 28), and are ready to be filled with the 
gospel riches, as opposed to the spiritually proud, the just who need no repentance (Tholuck, Meyer, Lange, 
etc.). “Many are poor in the world, but high in spirit; poor and proud, murmuring and complaining, and 
blaming their lot. Laodicea was poor in spirituals, and yet rich in spirit; so well increased with goods as to have 
need of nothing. Paul was rich in spirituals, excelling most in gifts and graces and yet poor in spirit; the least of 
the apostles, and less than the least of all saints” (M. Henry). 


18 


Chapter II 


Chapter II. 

1 i 

4. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall by inheritance possess the earth:” that earth, 
I suppose, of which it is said in the Psalm, “Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of 
the living.” For it signifies a certain firmness and stability of the perpetual inheritance, 
where the soul, by means of a good disposition, rests, as it were, in its own place, just as the 
body rests on the earth, and is nourished from it with its own food, as the body from the 
earth. This is the very rest and life of the saints. Then, the meek are those who yield to acts 
of wickedness, and do not resist evil, but overcome evil with good. 19 Let those, then, who 
are not meek quarrel and fight for earthly and temporal things; but “blessed are the meek, 

90 

for they shall by inheritance possess the earth,” from which they cannot be driven out. 

5. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Mourning is sorrow 

arising from the loss of things held dear; but those who are converted to God lose those 
things which they were accustomed to embrace as dear in this world: for they do not rejoice 
in those things in which they formerly rejoiced; and until the love of eternal things be in 
them, they are wounded by some measure of grief. Therefore they will be comforted by the 
Holy Spirit, who on this account chiefly is called the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter, in order 

99 

that, while losing the temporal joy, they may enjoy to the full that which is eternal. 

6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be 
filled.” Now He calls those parties, lovers of a true and indestructible good. They will 
therefore be filled with that food of which the Lord Himself says, “My meat is to do the will 


17 Hereditate possidebunt. Vulgate omits hereditate. The passage is quoted almost literally in the Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles, iii. 7. 

18 Ps. cxlii. 5. 

19 Rom. xii. 21. 

20 The order in which Augustin places this Beatitude is followed in Cod. D, and approved by Lachmann, 
Tischendorf, Neander, and others (not Westcott and Hort). The meek not only bear provocation, but quietly 
submit to God’s dealings, and comply with His designs. The temporal possession promised is one of the few 
temporal promises in the New Testament. The inheritance of the earth is referred to “earthly good and posses- 
sions,” by Chrysostom, Euthymius, Luther, etc.; to conquest of the world by the kingdom of God, by Neander, 
to the actual kingdom on this earth, first in its millennial then in its blessed state, by Alford; typically to the 
Messiah kingdom, by Meyer; to the land of the living beyond the heavens by Gregory of Nyssa. “Humility and 
meekness have been proved to be a conquering principle in the world’s history” (Tholuck). 

21 Lugentes. Greek, TCvSouvreq. The Vulgate, qui lugent, which Augustin follows, p. 7. 

22 The mourning is a mourning over sins of their own and others (Chrysostom, etc.); too restricted, as is 
also Augustin’s explanation. Spiritual mourning in general (Ambrose, Jerome, Tholuck, etc.) sorrow according 
to God (2 Cor. vii. 10). We are helped to the meaning by comparing the woe on those that laugh (Luke vi. 22); 
that is, upon those who are satisfied with earthly things, and avoid the seriousness of repentance. 


19 


Chapter II 


of my Father,” which is righteousness; and with that water, of which whosoever “drinketh,” 

9 ^ 

as he also says, it “shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” 

7. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” 24 He says that they are blessed 
who relieve the miserable, for it is paid back to them in such a way that they are freed from 
misery. 

8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” How foolish, therefore, are 

those who seek God with these outward eyes, since He is seen with the heart! as it is written 
elsewhere, “And in singleness of heart seek Him.” For that is a pure heart which is a single 
heart: and just as this light cannot be seen, except with pure eyes; so neither is God seen, 

9 7 

unless that is pure by which He can be seen. 

9. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” It is the 
perfection of peace, where nothing offers opposition; and the children of God are peace- 
makers, because nothing resists God, and surely children ought to have the likeness of their 
father. Now, they are peacemakers in themselves who, by bringing in order all the motions 
of their soul, and subjecting them to reason — i.e. to the mind and spirit — and by having 
their carnal lusts thoroughly subdued, become a kingdom of God: in which all things are 
so arranged, that that which is chief and pre-eminent in man rules without resistance over 
the other elements, which are common to us with the beasts; and that very element which 
is pre-eminent in man, i.e. mind and reason, is brought under subjection to something 
better still, which is the truth itself, the only-begotten Son of God. For a man is not able to 
rule over things which are inferior, unless he subjects himself to what is superior. And this 
is the peace which is given on earth to men of goodwill; this the life of the fully developed 
and perfect wise man. From a kingdom of this sort brought to a condition of thorough peace 
and order, the prince of this world is cast out, who rules where there is perversity and dis- 


23 John iv. 34, 14. 

24 Ipsorum miserabitur; closer to the Greek than the Vulgate ipsi misericordiam consequentur. The same 
thought that underlies the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, as Augustin also says, Retract. I. xix. 3. 

25 Mundi corde; the Vulgate, mundo corde. 

26 Wisd. i. 1. 

27 “Pure in heart.” “Ceremonial purity does not suffice” (Bengel). The singleness of heart which has God’s 
will for its aim, and follows integrity with our fellow-men (Tholuck). “Shall see God:” the most infinite communion 
with God (Tholuck). The promise is fulfilled even here (Lange, Alford, Schaff, etc.). It concerns only the beatific 
vision in the spiritual body (Meyer). Not a felicity to the impure to see God (Henry). Comp. 1 John iii. 2, Rev. 
xxii. 4, etc. Augustin has a brilliant description of the future vision of God in City of God (this series, vol. ii. pp. 
507-509). 

28 Luke ii. 14. 


20 


Chapter II 


9Q 

order. When this peace has been inwardly established and confirmed, whatever persecutions 
he who has been cast out shall stir up from without, he only increases the glory which is 
according to God; being unable to shake anything in that edifice, but by the failure of his 
machinations making it to be known with how great strength it has been built from within 
outwardly. Hence there follows: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ 
sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 


29 The “peacemakers” not only establish peace within themselves as Augustin, encouraged by the Latin word, 

explains, but diffuse peace around about them, — heal the alienations and discords of others, and bring about 
reconciliations in the world; not merely peaceful, but peacemakers. “In most kingdoms those stand highest who 
make war: in the Messiah’s kingdom the crowning beatitude respects those who make peace.” The expressions 
will be remembered, “peace of God” (Phil. iv. 7); “peace of Christ” (Col. iii. 15); “God of peace” (Rom. xv. 33), 
etc. “If the peacemakers are blessed, woe to the peacebreakers!” (M. Henry). 


21 


Chapter III 


Chapter III. 

10. There are in all, then, these eight sentences. For now in what remains He speaks in 
the way of direct address to those who were present, saying: “Blessed shall ye be when men 
shall revile you and persecute you.” But the former sentences He addressed in a general way: 
for He did not say, Blessed are ye poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven; but He 
says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” nor, Blessed are 
ye meek, for ye shall inherit the earth; but, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the 
earth.” And so the others up to the eighth sentence, where He says: “Blessed are they which 
are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” After that He 
now begins to speak in the way of direct address to those present, although what has been 
said before referred also to His present audience; and that which follows, and which seems 
to be spoken specially to those present, refers also to those who were absent, or who would 
afterwards come into existence. 

For this reason the number of sentences before us is to be carefully considered. For the 
beatitudes begin with humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, 
while the soul submits itself to divine authority, fearing lest after this life it go away to pun- 
ishment, although perhaps in this life it might seem to itself to be happy. Then it (the soul) 
comes to the knowledge of the divine Scriptures, where it must show itself meek in its piety, 
lest it should venture to condemn that which seems absurd to the unlearned, and should 
itself be rendered unteachable by obstinate disputations. After that, it now begins to know 
in what entanglements of this world it is held by reason of carnal custom and sins: and so 
in this third stage, in which there is knowledge, the loss of the highest good is mourned 
over, because it sticks fast in what is lowest. Then, in the fourth stage there is labour, where 
vehement exertion is put forth, in order that the mind may wrench itself away from those 
things in which, by reason of their pestilential sweetness, it is entangled: here therefore 
righteousness is hungered and thirsted after, and fortitude is very necessary; because what 
is retained with delight is not abandoned without pain. Then, at the fifth stage, to those 
persevering in labour, counsel for getting rid of it is given; for unless each one is assisted by 
a superior, in no way is he fit in his own case to extricate himself from so great entanglements 
of miseries. But it is a just counsel, that he who wishes to be assisted by a stronger should 
assist him who is weaker in that in which he himself is stronger: therefore “blessed are the 
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” At the sixth stage there is purity of heart, able from 
a good conscience of good works to contemplate that highest good, which can be discerned 
by the pure and tranquil intellect alone. Lastly is the seventh, wisdom itself — z'.e. the contem- 
plation of the truth, tranquillizing the whole man, and assuming the likeness of God, which 
is thus summed up: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of 
God.” The eighth, as it were, returns to the starting-point, because it shows and commends 


22 



Chapter III 


1A 

what is complete and perfect: therefore in the first and in the eighth the kingdom of 

heaven is named, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and, 
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven:” as it is now said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, 

o 1 

or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Seven in number, 
therefore, are the things which bring perfection: for the eighth brings into light and shows 
what is perfect, so that starting, as it were, from the beginning again, the others also are 
perfected by means of these stages. 


30 “In the eighth beatitude the other seven are only summed up under the idea of the righteousness of the 
kingdom in its relation to those who persecute it; while the ninth is a description of the eighth, with reference 
to the relation in which these righteous persons stand to Christ” (Lange). 

31 Rom. viii. 35. 


23 


Chapter IV 


Chapter IV. 

11. Hence also the sevenfold operation of the Holy Ghost, of which Isaiah speaks, 
seems to me to correspond to these stages and sentences. But there is a difference of order: 
for there the enumeration begins with the more excellent, but here with the inferior. For 
there it begins with wisdom, and closes with the fear of God: but “the fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom.” And therefore, if we reckon as it were in a gradually ascending series, 
there the fear of God is first, piety second, knowledge third, fortitude fourth, counsel fifth, 
understanding sixth, wisdom seventh. The fear of God corresponds to the humble, of whom 
it is here said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, not proud: to whom 
the apostle says, “Be not high-minded, but fear;” 33 i.e. be not lifted up. Piety 34 corresponds 
to the meek: for he who inquires piously honours Holy Scripture, and does not censure what 
he does not yet understand, and on this account does not offer resistance; and this is to be 
meek: whence it is here said, “Blessed are the meek.” Knowledge corresponds to those that 
mourn who already have found out in the Scriptures by what evils they are held chained 
which they ignorantly have coveted as though they were good and useful. Fortitude corres- 
ponds to those hungering and thirsting: for they labour in earnestly desiring j oy from things 
that are truly good, and in eagerly seeking to turn away their love from earthly and corporeal 
things: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after right- 
eousness.” Counsel corresponds to the merciful: for this is the one remedy for escaping from 
so great evils, that we forgive, as we wish to be ourselves forgiven; and that we assist others 
so far as we are able, as we ourselves desire to be assisted where we are not able: and of them 
it is here said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Understanding corresponds to the pure in heart, 
the eye being as it were purged, by which that may be beheld which eye hath not seen, nor 

or 

ear heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man: and of them it is here said, 

“Blessed are the pure in heart.” Wisdom corresponds to the peacemakers, in whom all things 
are now brought into order, and no passion is in a state of rebellion against reason, but all 
things together obey the spirit of man, while he himself also obeys God: and of them it is 

o /r 

here said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” 

12. Moreover, the one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named ac- 
cording to these stages. In the first, just as ought to be the case, is placed the kingdom of 
heaven, which is the perfect and highest wisdom of the rational soul. Thus, therefore, it is 


32 Isa. xi. 2, 3. 

33 Rom. xi. 20. 

34 Augustin follows the Septuagint, which has “piety” instead of “the fear of the Lord” in the last clause of 
Isa. xi. 2. 

35 Isa. lxiv. 4 and 1 Cor. ii. 9. 

36 This is guarded against misconstruction in the Retract. I. xix. 1. 


24 


Chapter IV 


said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as if it were said, 
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To the meek an inheritance is given, as 
it were the testament of a father to those dutifully seeking it: “Blessed are the meek, for they 
shall inherit the earth.” To the mourners comfort, as to those who know what they have 
lost, and in what evils they are sunk: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comfor- 
ted.” To those hungering and thirsting, a full supply, as it were a refreshment to those labour- 
ing and bravely contending for salvation: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To the merciful mercy, as to those following a true 
and excellent counsel, so that this same treatment is extended toward them by one who is 
stronger, which they extend toward the weaker: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall 
obtain mercy.” To the pure in heart is given the power of seeing God, as to those bearing 
about with them a pure eye for discerning eternal things: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for 
they shall see God.” To the peacemakers the likeness of God is given, as being perfectly wise, 
and formed after the image of God by means of the regeneration of the renewed man: 
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” And those 
promises can indeed be fulfilled in this life, as we believe them to have been fulfilled in the 
case of the apostles. For that all-embracing change into the angelic form, which is promised 
after this life, cannot be explained in any words. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which are 
persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This eighth sentence, 
which goes back to the starting-point, and makes manifest the perfect man, is perhaps set 
forth in its meaning both by the circumcision on the eighth day in the Old Testament, and 
by the resurrection of the Lord after the Sabbath, the day which is certainly the eighth, and 
at the same time the first day; and by the celebration of the eight festival days which we 
celebrate in the case of the regeneration of the new man; and by the very number of Pentecost. 
For to the number seven, seven times multiplied, by which we make forty-nine, as it were 
an eighth is added, so that fifty may be made up, and we, as it were, return to the starting- 
point: on which day the Holy Spirit was sent, by whom we are led into the kingdom of 
heaven, and receive the inheritance, and are comforted; and are fed, and obtain mercy, and 
are purified, and are made peacemakers; and being thus perfect, we bear all troubles brought 
upon us from without for the sake of truth and righteousness. 


25 



Chapter V 


Chapter V. 

13. “Blessed are ye,” says He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall 
say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for 
great' is your reward in heaven.” Let any one who is seeking after the delights of this world 
and the riches of temporal things under the Christian name, consider that our blessedness 
is within; as it is said of the soul of the Church by the mouth of the prophet, “All the beauty 
of the king’s daughter is within;” for outwardly revilings, and persecutions, and disparage- 
ments are promised; and yet, from these things there is a great reward in heaven, which is 
felt in the heart of those who endure, those who can now say, “We glory in tribulations: 
knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the 
Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 40 For it is not simply the enduring of such things that 
is advantageous, but the bearing of such things for the name of Christ not only with tranquil 
mind, but even with exultation. For many heretics, deceiving souls under the Christian 
name, endure many such things; but they are excluded from that reward on this account, 
that it is not said merely, “Blessed are they which endure persecution;” but it is added, “for 
righteousness’ sake.” Now, where there is no sound faith, there can be no righteousness, for 
thejust [righteous] man lives byfaith. 41 Neither let schismatics promise themselves anything 
of that reward; for similarly, where there is no love, there cannot be righteousness, for “love 
worketh no ill to his neighbour;” 42 and if they had it, they would not tear in pieces Christ’s 
body, which is the Church 43 

14. But it may be asked, What is the difference when He says, “when men shall revile 
you,” and “when they shall say all manner of evil against you,” since to revile 44 is just this, 
to say evil against? 45 But it is one thing when the reviling word is hurled with contumely in 
presence of him who is reviled, as it was said to our Lord, “Say we not the truth 46 that thou 
art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” 47 and another thing, when our reputation is injured in 


37 Multa; Vulgate, copiosa. 

38 Anima ecclesiastica. 

39 Ps. xlv. 13. 

40 Rom. v. 3-5. 

41 Hab. ii. 4 and Rom. i. 17. 

42 Rom. xiii. 10. 

43 Col. i. 24. 

44 Maledicere. 

45 Malum dicere. 

46 Verum. The Vulgate more literally has bene. 

47 John viii. 48. 


26 


Chapter V 


AO 

our absence, as it is also written of Him, “Some said, He is a prophet; others said, Nay, 
but He deceiveth the people.” 49 Then, further, to persecute is to inflict violence, or to assail 
with snares, as was done by him who betrayed Him, and by them who crucified Him. Cer- 
tainly, as for the fact that this also is not put in a bare form, so that it should be said, “and 
shall say all manner of evil against you,” but there is added the word “falsely,” and also the 
expression “for my sake;” I think that the addition is made for the sake of those who wish 
to glory in persecutions, and in the baseness of their reputation; and to say that Christ belongs 
to them for this reason, that many bad things are said about them; while, on the one hand, 
the things said are true, when they are said respecting their error; and, on the other hand, 
if sometimes also some false charges are thrown out, which frequently happens from the 
rashness of men, yet they do not suffer such things for Christ’s sake. 50 For he is not a follower 
of Christ who is not called a Christian according to the true faith and the catholic discipline. 

15. “Rejoice,” says He, “and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” I do 
not think that it is the higher parts of this visible world that are here called heaven. For our 
reward, which ought to be immoveable and eternal, is not to be placed in things fleeting 
and temporal. But I think the expression “in heaven” means in the spiritual firmament, 
where dwells everlasting righteousness: in comparison with which a wicked soul is called 
earth, to which it is said when it sins, “Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.” 51 

CO 

Of this heaven the apostle says, “For our conversation is in heaven.” Hence they who rejoice 
in spiritual good are conscious of that reward now; but then it will be perfected in every 
part, when this mortal also shall have put on immortality. “For,” says He, “so persecuted 
they the prophets also which were before you.” In the present case He has used “persecution” 
in a general sense, as applying alike to abusive words and to the tearing in pieces of one’s 
reputation; and has well encouraged them by an example, because they who speak true 
things are wont to suffer persecution: nevertheless did not the ancient prophets on this ac- 
count, through fear of persecution, give over the preaching of the truth. 


48 The Vulgate, following the Greek, has bonus , — good man. 

49 Chap. vii. 12. 

50 “It is not the suffering but the cause, that makes men martyrs.” For, says Augustin in another place (En. 
in Ps. xxxiv. 23), if the suffering made the martyr, every mine would be full of martyrs, every chain drag them, 
every one beheaded with the sword be crowned. They who suffer for righteousness’ sake, suffer for Christ’s sake. 

51 Gen. iii. 19. 

52 Phil. iii. 20. 


27 


Chapter VI 


Chapter VI. 

16. Hence there follows most justly the statement, “Ye are the salt of the earth;” showing 
that those parties are to be judged insipid, who, either in the eager pursuit after abundance 
of earthly blessings, or through the dread of want, lose the eternal things which can neither 
be given nor taken away by men. “But 53 if the salt have lost 54 its savour, wherewith shall it 
be salted?” i.e., If ye, by means of whom the nations in a measure are to be preserved [from 
corruption], through the dread of temporal persecutions shall lose the kingdom of heaven, 
where will be the men through whom error maybe removed from you, since God has chosen 
you, in order that through you He might remove the error of others? Hence the savourless 
salt is “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men.” It is not 
therefore he who suffers persecution, but he who is rendered savourless by the fear of perse- 
cution, that is trodden under foot of men. For it is only one who is undermost that can be 
trodden under foot; but he is not undermost, who, however many things he may suffer in 
his body on the earth, yet has his heart fixed in heaven. 55 

17. “Ye are the light 56 of the world.” In the same way as He said above, “the salt of the 
earth,” so now He says, “the light of the world.” For in the former case that earth is not to 
be understood which we tread with our bodily feet, but the men who dwell upon the earth, 
or even the sinners, for the preserving of whom and for the extinguishing of whose corrup- 


53 “A warning against pride” (Schaff). 

54 Infatuatum fuerit;\ ulgate, evanuerit. 

55 Others follow Augustin in regarding the connection of this verse and the next with the preceding one as 
very close. All the more must they refuse to yield to persecution, as they have a function in the world which is 
well represented by salt and light (Weizsacker, Meyer, etc.). The function of salt is to preserve and to season. 
With it Elisha healed the unwholesome water (2 Kings ii. 2 1 ) . The use of salt in the sacrifices is, no doubt, alluded 
to (Tholuck). It becomes savourless. Dr. Thomson says ( Land and Book , ii. 43), “It is a well-known fact that the 
salt in this country (gathered from the marshes in dry weather), when in contact with the ground, or exposed 
to air and sun, does become insipid and useless.” The disciples are appointed to communicate the truth and 
moral grace, before spoken of in the Beatitudes, to counteract the error and corruption in the earth. “Earth” not 
to be confined to “society as then existing, the definite form the world then presented” (Lange), but to mankind 
in general, as Augustin below. “Wherewith shall it be salted” does not imply that those who have once fallen 
cannot be reclaimed (Alford). The comment of Grotius is good: “Ipsi emendare alios debebent, non autem ex- 
spectare ut ab aliis ipsi emendarentur” (“They ought to improve others, not expect to be themselves improved 
by others”). 

56 Lumen, also used for a luminary; Vulgate, lux. In a lower and derivative sense are the disciples “the light,” 
etc. (Alford), deriving their light-giving quality from Him who is the “Light of the world” (John viii. 12), so that 
they become “lights in the world” (Phil. ii. 15). Augustin (Sermon, ccclxxx.): Johannes lumen illuminatum, 
Christus lumen illuminans. 


28 


Chapter VI 


tions the Lord sent the apostolic salt. And here, by the world must be understood not the 
heavens and the earth, but the men who are in the world or love the world, for the enlight- 

rn ro 

ening of whom the apostles were sent. “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid,” i.e. 
[a city] founded upon great and distinguished righteousness, which is also the meaning of 
the mountain itself on which our Lord is discoursing. “Neither do men light a candle 59 and 
put it under a bushel measure .” 60 What view are we to take? That the expression “under a 
bushel measure” is so used that only the concealment of the candle is to be understood, as 
if He were saying, No one lights a candle and conceals it? Or does the bushel measure also 
mean something, so that to place a candle under a bushel is this, to place the comforts of 
the body higher than the preaching of the truth; so that one does not preach the truth so 
long as he is afraid of suffering any annoyance in corporeal and temporal things? And it is 
well said a bushel measure, whether on account of the recompense of measure, for each one 
receives the things done in his body, — “that every one,” says the apostle, “may there receive 61 
the things done in his body;” and it is said in another place, as if of this bushel measure of 
the body, “For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again:” “ — or because 
temporal good things, which are carried to completion in the body, are both begun and 
come to an end in a certain definite number of days, which is perhaps meant by the “bushel 
measure;” while eternal and spiritual things are confined within no such limit, “for God 

/TO 

giveth not the Spirit by measure.” Every one, therefore, who obscures and covers up the 
light of good doctrine by means of temporal comforts, places his candle under a bushel 
measure. “But on a candlestick .” 64 Now it is placed on a candlestick by him who subordinates 
his body to the service of God, so that the preaching of the truth is the higher, and the serving 
of the body the lower; yet by means even of the service of the body the doctrine shines more 
conspicuously, inasmuch as it is insinuated into those who learn by means of bodily functions, 


57 “The influence of salt is internal, of light external: hence the element in which they work, the earth and 
the world , both referring to mankind; the latter more to its organized external form” (Schaff). 

58 Constituta ; Vulgate, posita. The city was probably visible. Some have thought of the village on Mount 
Tabor, others of an ancient fortress, predecessor of the present Safed (Dean Stanley, Thomson); certainly not 
Jerusalem (Weizsacker). 

59 Lucerna. 

60 The Greek has the definite article rov poStov. 

61 2 Cor. v. 10. Recipiat unusquisque quce gessit in corpore. Vulgate, referat unusquisque propria corporis, 
prout gessit, etc. 

62 Matt. vii. 2. 

63 John iii. 34; which words, however, are, as Augustin subsequently observed ( Retract . I. xix. 3), applicable 
only to Christ. 

64 Candelabrum. 


29 


Chapter VI 


i.e. by means of the voice and tongue, and the other movements of the body in good works. 
The apostle therefore puts his candle on a candlestick, when he says, “So fight I, not as one 
that beateth 65 the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by 
any means, when I preach to others, I myself should be found a castaway .” 66 When He says, 
however, “that it may give light to all who are in the house,” I am of opinion that it is the 
abode of men which is called a house, i.e. the world itself, on account of what He says before, 
“Ye are the light of the world;” or if any one chooses to understand the house as being the 
Church, this, too, is not out of place. 


65 Ccedens ; Vulgate, verberans. 

66 1 Cor. ix. 26, 27. Ne forte aliis predicans. . . invenir. Vulgate, Ne forte cum aliis prcedicaverim . . . efficir. 


30 


Chapter VII 


Chapter VII. 

18. “Let your light,” says He, “so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If He had merely said, “Let your light so shine 
before men, that they may see your good works,” He would seem to have fixed an end in 
the praises of men, which hypocrites seek, and those who canvass for honours and covet 
glory of the emptiest kind. Against such parties it is said, “If I yet pleased men, I should not 

/'O 

be the servant of Christ;” and, by the prophet, “They who please men are put to shame, 
because God hath despised them;” and again, “God hath broken the bones of those who 
please men;” 69 and again the apostle, “Let us not be desirous of vainglory;” 70 and still another 
time, “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself 
alone, and not in another.” Hence our Lord has not said merely, that they may see your 
good works,” but has added, “and glorify your Father who is in heaven:” so that the mere 
fact that a man by means of good works pleases men, does not there set it up as an end that 
he should please men; but let him subordinate this to the praise of God, and for this reason 
please men, that God maybe glorified in him. For this is expedient for them who offer praise, 
that they should honour, not man, but God; as our Lord showed in the case of the man who 
was carried, where, on the paralytic being healed, the multitude, marvehing at His powers, 
as it is written in the Gospel, “feared and glorified God, which had given such power unto 
men.” And His imitator, the Apostle Paul, says, “But they had heard only, that he which 
persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed; and they 

n'l 

glorified God in me.” 

19. And therefore, after He has exhorted His hearers that they should prepare themselves 
to bear all things for truth and righteousness, and that they should not hide the good which 
they were about to receive, but should learn with such benevolence as to teach others, aiming 
in their good works not at their own praise, but at the glory of God, He begins now to inform 
and to teach them what they are to teach; as if they were asking Him, saying: Lo, we are 
willing both to bear all things for Thy name, and not to hide Thy doctrine; but what precisely 
is this which Thou forbiddest us to hide, and for which Thou commandest us to bear all 
things? Art Thou about to mention other things contrary to those which are written in the 


67 Lumen ; Vulgate, lux. Christ presupposes His righteousness to have become the principle of their life. 
“They were to stand forth openly and boldly with the message of the New Testament” ( Lange). 

68 Gal. i. 10. 

69 Ps. liii. 5. 

70 Gal. v. 26. 

71 Chap. vi. 4. 

72 Matt. ix. 8. 

Gal. i. 23, 24. Vastabat. . .glorificabant; Vulgate, expugnabat. . .clarificabant. 


73 


31 


Chapter VII 


law? “No,” says He; “for think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am 
not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” 


32 



Chapter VIII 


Chapter VIII. 

20. In this sentence the meaning is twofold. 74 We must deal with it in both ways. For 

nr 

He who says, “I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil,” means it either in the way 
of adding what is wanting, or of doing what is in it. Let us then consider that first which I 
have put first: for he who adds what is wanting does not surely destroy what he finds, but 
rather confirms it by perfecting it; and accordingly He follows up with the statement, 
“Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one iota or one tittle shall in nowise 
pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” For, if even those things which are added for completion 
are fulfilled, much more are those things fulfilled which are sent in advance as a commence- 
ment. Then, as to what He says, “One iota or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law,” 
nothing else can be understood but a strong expression of perfection, since it is pointed out 
by means of single letters, among which letters “iota” is smaller than the others, for it is 
made by a single stroke; while a “tittle” is but a particle of some sort at the top of even that. 
And by these words He shows that in the law all the smallest particulars even are to be carried 
into effect. After that He subjoins: “Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least 
commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of 
heaven.” Hence it is the least commandments that are meant by “one iota” and “one tittle.” 
And therefore, “whosoever shall break and shall teach [men] so,” — i.e. in accordance with 
what he breaks, not in accordance with what he finds and reads, — “shall be called the least 
in the kingdom of heaven;” and therefore, perhaps, he will not be in the kingdom of heaven 
at all, where only the great can be. “But whosoever shall do and teach [men] so, ’ — i.e. who 
shall not break, and shall teach men so, in accordance with what he does not break, — “shall 
be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” But in regard to him who shall be called great in 
the kingdom of heaven, it follows that he is also in the kingdom of heaven, into which the 
great are admitted: for to this what follows refers. 


74 Here begins the second part of the Sermon. In it our Lord sets forth His relation as a lawgiver to the Mo- 
saic law, especially as currently interpreted according to the letter only (Meyer, Alford etc.). 

75 Veni ; Greek, f|A0ov. 

76 A decisive assertion of authority. Asseveratio gravissima ei propria, qui perse ipsum etper suam veritatem 
asseverat (Bengel). The prophet’s most emphatic statement was, “Thus saith the Lord.” Christ speaks in His 
own name, as the fount of authority (v. 20 and often: John iii. 3, xiv. 12, etc.). 

77 “Christ’s words are decisive against all those who would set aside the Old Testament as without significance, 
or inconsistent with the New Testament” (Alford). Christ declares the New to be rooted in the Old; its consum- 
mation, not its destruction. The essence and purport of the law, the “whole law,” was fulfilled by Him (Meyer). 
Theophylact well compares the law to a sketch, which Christ (like the painter) does not destroy, but fills out. 

78 Sic ; Greek, ouroc;; Vulgate, hie. 


33 


Chapter IX 


Chapter IX. 

21. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness 
of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven;” i.e., 
unless ye shall fulfil not only those least precepts of the law which begin the man, but also 
those which are added by me, who am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, ye shall 
not enter into the kingdom of heaven. But you say to me: If, when He was speaking above 
of those least commandments, He said that whosoever shall break one of them, and shall 
teach in accordance with his transgression, is called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but 
that whosoever shall do them, and shall teach [men] so, is called great, and hence will be 
already in the kingdom of heaven, because he is great: what need is there for additions to 
the least precepts of the law, if he can be already in the kingdom of heaven, because whosoever 
shall do them, and shall so teach, is great? For this reason that sentence is to be understood 
thus: “But whosoever shall do and teach men so, the same shall be called great in the kingdom 
of heaven,” — i.e. not in accordance with those least commandments, but in accordance with 
those which I am about to mention. Now what are they? “That your righteousness,” says 
He, “may exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees;” for unless it shall exceed theirs, ye shall 
not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, therefore, shall break those least com- 
mandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least; but whosoever shall do those 
least commandments, and shall teach men so, is not necessarily to be reckoned great and 
meet for the kingdom of heaven; but yet he is not so much the least as the man who breaks 
them. But in order that he may be great and fit for that kingdom, he ought to do and teach 
as Christ now teaches, i.e. in order that his righteousness may exceed that of the scribes 
and Pharisees. The righteousness of the Pharisees is, that they shall not kill; the righteousness 
of those who are destined to enter into the kingdom of God, that they be not angry without 
a cause. The least commandment, therefore, is not to kill; and whosoever shall break that, 
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall fulfil that commandment 
not to kill, will not, as a necessary consequence, be great and meet for the kingdom of 
heaven, but yet he ascends a certain step. He will be perfected, however, if he be not angry 
without a cause; and if he shall do this, he will be much further removed from murder. For 
this reason he who teaches that we should not be angry, does not break the law not to kill, 
but rather fulfils it; so that we preserve our innocence both outwardly when we do not kill, 
and in heart when we are not angry. 


79 “With all their care, they had not understood the true spirit of the law” (Schaff). The rest of the Sermon 
is largely a comment on this verse, Christ giving His interpretation of the law, and the righteousness following 
upon its observance; showing that the purport goes beyond the external act of obedience to the purpose of the 
heart, and that in the external act of obedience the real purport might be ignored. 


34 



Chapter IX 


22. “Ye have heard” therefore, says He, “that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt 
not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say unto you, that 

on 

whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: 
and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever 
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the gehenna of fire.” What is the difference between 
being in danger of the judgment, and being in danger of the council, and being in danger 

o 1 

of the gehenna of fire? For this last sounds most weighty, and reminds us that certain 
stages were passed over from lighter to more weighty, until the gehenna of fire was reached. 
And, therefore, if it is a lighter thing to be in danger of the judgment than to be in danger 
of the council, and if it is also a lighter thing to be in danger of the council than to be in 
danger of the gehenna of fire, we must understand it to be a lighter thing to be angry with 
a brother without a cause than to say “Raca;” and again, to be a lighter thing to say “Raca” 
than to say “Thou fool.” For the danger would not have gradations, unless the sins also were 
mentioned in gradation. 

23. But here one obscure word has found a place, for “Raca” is neither Latin nor Greek. 
The others, however, are current in our language. Now, some have wished to derive the in- 
terpretation of this expression from the Greek, supposing that a ragged person is called 
“Raca,” because a rag is called in Greek pctKOc;; yet, when one asks them what a ragged person 
is called in Greek, they do not answer “Raca;” and further, the Latin translator might have 
put the word ragged where he has placed “Raca,” and not have used a word which, on the 
one hand, has no existence in the Latin language, and, on the other, is rare in the Greek. 
Hence the view is more probable which I heard from a certain Hebrew whom I had asked 
about it; for he said that the word does not mean anything, but merely expresses the emotion 
of an angry mind. Grammarians call those particles of speech which express an affection of 
an agitated mind interjections; as when it is said by one who is grieved, “Alas,” or by one 
who is angry, “Hah.” And these words in all languages are proper names, and are not easily 
translated into another language; and this cause certainly compelled alike the Greek and 
the Latin translators to put the word itself, inasmuch as they could find no way of translating 


80 Sine causa. The weight of critical evidence is against this clause, which is omitted by Tischendorf, Westcott, 
and Hort, the Vulgate and the Revised Version. 

8 1 The “judgment” (Kplaiq) was the local court of seven, which every community was enjoined to have (Deut. 
xvi. 18). The “council” was the Sanhedrin, consisting of seventy-two members, sitting in Jerusalem. The “gehenna” 
was the vale of Hinnom, on the confines of Jerusalem, where sacrifices were offered to Moloch, and which became 
the place for refuse and the burning of dead bodies. In the New Testament it is equivalent to “hell.” 

82 Raca is from the Chald. , and is a term of contempt equivalent to empty-headed (Thayer’s Lexicon). 

Trench translates, “Oh, vain man!” 


35 


Chapter IX 


24. There is therefore a gradation in the sins referred to, so that first one is angry, and 
keeps that feeling as a conception in his heart; but if now that emotion shall draw forth an 
expression of anger not having any definite meaning, but giving evidence of that feeling of 
the mind by the very fact of the outbreak wherewith he is assailed with whom one is angry, 
this is certainly more than if the rising anger were restrained by silence; but if there is heard 
not merely an expression of anger, but also a word by which the party using it now indicates 
and signifies a distinct censure of him against whom it is directed, who doubts but that this 
is something more than if merely an exclamation of anger were uttered? Hence in the first 
there is one thing, i.e. anger alone; in the second two things, both anger and a word that 
expresses anger; in the third three things, anger and a word that expresses anger, and in that 
word the utterance of distinct censure. Look now also at the three degrees of liability, — the 
judgment, the council, the gehenna of fire. For in the judgment an opportunity is still given 
for defence; in the council, however, although there is also wont to be a judgment, yet because 
the very distinction compels us to acknowledge that there is a certain difference in this place, 
the production of the sentence seems to belong to the council, inasmuch as it is not now 
the case of the accused himself that is in question, whether he is to be condemned or not, 
but they who judge confer with one another to what punishment they ought to condemn 
him, who, it is clear, is to be condemned; but the gehenna of fire does not treat as a doubtful 
matter either the condemnation, like the judgment, or the punishment of him who is con- 
demned, like the council; for in the gehenna of fire both the condemnation and the punish- 
ment of him who is condemned are certain. Thus there are seen certain degrees in the sins 

O') 

and in the liability to punishment; but who can tell in what ways they are invisibly shown 
in the punishments of souls? We are therefore to learn how great the difference is between 
the righteousness of the Pharisees and that greater righteousness which introduces into the 
kingdom of heaven, because while it is a more serious crime to kill than to inflict reproach 
by means of a word, in the one case killing exposes one to the judgment, but in the other 
anger exposes one to the judgment, which is the least of those three sins; for in the former 
case they were discussing the question of murder among men, but in the latter all things 
are disposed of by means of a divine judgment, where the end of the condemned is the ge- 
henna of fire. But whoever shall say that murder is punished by a more severe penalty under 
the greater righteousness if a reproach is punished by the gehenna of fire, compels us to 
understand that there are differences of gehennas. 


83 It is important “to keep in mind that there is no distinction in kind between these punishments, only of 
degree. The ‘judgment’ (Kptou;) inflicted death by the sword, the Sanhedrin death by stoning, and the disgrace 
of the gehenna followed as an intensification of death; but the punishment is one and the same, — death. So also 
in the subject of the similitude. All the punishments are spiritual ; all result in eternal death, but with various 
degrees, as the degrees of guilt have been” (Alford). 


36 



Chapter IX 


25. Indeed, in the three statements before us, we must observe that some words are 
understood. For the first statement has all the words that are necessary. “Whosoever,” says 
He, “is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment.” But in 
the second, when He says, “and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,” there is understood 
the expression without cause, and thus there is subjoined, “shall be in danger of the 
council.” In the third, now, where He says, “but whosoever shall say, Thou fool,” two things 
are understood, both to his brother and without cause. And in this way we defend the apostle 

o c 

when he calls the Galatians fools, to whom he also gives the name of brethren; for he does 
not do it without cause. And here the word brother is to be understood for this reason, that 
the case of an enemy is spoken of afterwards, and how he also is to be treated under the 
greater righteousness. 


84 Augustin helps us to understand how the word Eitcrj ( without cause ) in the preceding clause crept into 
some of the Mss. In Retract. I. xix. 4 he makes the critical note and correction: “ Codices grceci non habent sine 
causa.” 


85 Gal. iii. 1. 


37 


Chapter X 


Chapter X. 

o/r 

26. Next there follows here: “Therefore, if thou hast brought thy gift to the altar, and 
there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the 
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” 
From this surely it is clear that what is said above is said of a brother: inasmuch as the sen- 
tence which follows is connected by such a conjunction that it confirms the preceding one; 
for He does not say, But if thou bring thy gift to the altar; but He says, “Therefore, if thou 
bring thy gift to the altar.” For if it is not lawful to be angry with one’s brother without a 
cause, or to say “Raca,” or to say “Thou fool,” much less is it lawful so to retain anything in 
one’s mind, as that indignation may be turned into hatred. And to this belongs also what is 
said in another passage: “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” We are therefore 
commanded, when about to bring our gift to the altar, if we remember that our brother hath 
ought against us, to leave the gift before the altar, and to go and be reconciled to our 

oo 

brother, and then to come and offer the gift. But if this is to be understood literally, one 
might perhaps suppose that such a thing ought to be done if the brother is present; for it 
cannot be delayed too long, since you are commanded to leave your gift before the altar. If, 
therefore, such a thing should come into your mind respecting one who is absent, and, as 
may happen, even settled down beyond the sea, it is absurd to suppose that your gift is to 
be left before the altar until you may offer it to God after having traversed both lands and 
seas. And therefore we are compelled to have recourse to an altogether internal and spiritual 
interpretation, in order that what has been said may be understood without absurdity. 

27. And so we may interpret the altar spiritually, as being faith itself in the inner temple 
of God, whose emblem is the visible altar. For whatever offering we present to God, 
whether prophecy, or teaching, or prayer, or a psalm, or a hymn, and whatever other such 
like spiritual gift occurs to the mind, it cannot be acceptable to God, unless it be sustained 
by sincerity of faith, and, as it were, placed on that fixedly and immoveably, so that what 
we utter may remain whole and uninjured. For many heretics, not having the altar, i.e. true 
faith, have spoken blasphemies for praise; being weighed down, to wit, with earthly opinions, 
and thus, as it were, throwing down their offering on the ground. But there ought also to 
be purity of intention on the part of the offerer. And therefore, when we are about to present 
any such offering in our heart, i.e. in the inner temple of God (“For,” as it is said, “the temple 


86 Obtuleris ; Vulgate, offers. 

87 Eph. iv. 26. 

88 The performance of an act of worship does not atone for an offence against a fellow-man. The duties toward 
God never absolve from man’s duties to his neighbour. Inter rem sacram magis subit recordatio offensarum , 
quam in strepitu negotiorum (Bengel). 


38 


Chapter X 


of God is holy, which temple ye are;” 89 and, “That Christ may dwell in the inner man 90 by 
faith in your hearts”) if it occur to our mind that a brother hath ought against us, i.e. if we 
have injured him in anything (for then he has something against us whereas we have 
something against him if he has injured us, and in that case it is not necessary to proceed 
to reconciliation: for you will not ask pardon of one who has done you an injury, but merely 
forgive him, as you desire to be forgiven by the Lord what you have committed against 
Him), we are therefore to proceed to reconciliation, when it has occurred to our mind that 
we have perhaps injured our brother in something; but this is to be done not with the bodily 
feet, but with the emotions of the mind, so that you are to prostrate yourself with humble 
disposition before your brother, to whom you have hastened in affectionate thought, in the 
presence of Him to whom you are about to present your offering. For thus, even if he should 
be present, you will be able to soften him by a mind free from dissimulation, and to recall 
him to goodwill by asking pardon, if first you have done this before God, going to him not 
with the slow movement of the body, but with the very swiff impulse of love; and then 
coming, i.e. recalling your attention to that which you were beginning to do, you will offer 

■ r 91 

your gift. 

28. But who acts in a way that he is neither angry with his brother without a cause, nor 
says “Raca” without a cause, nor calls him a fool without a cause, all of which are most 
proudly committed; or so, that, if perchance he has fallen into any of these, he asks pardon 
with suppliant mind, which is the only remedy; who but just the man that is not puffed up 
with the spirit of empty boasting? “Blessed” therefore “are the poor in spirit: for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven.” Let us look now at what follows. 


89 1 Cor. iii. 17. 

90 Eph. iii. 17. In interiore homine, a different construction from the Greek, which has etc; with the accusative. 
So Vulgate, in interiorem hominem. 

91 “Discharge of duty to men does not absolve from duty to God.” The passage has strong bearing upon the 
relation of morality and religion. 


39 


Chapter XI 


Chapter XI. 

29. Be kindly disposed,” says he, toward thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in 
the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge de- 
liver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by 
no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” I understand who 
the judge is: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the 
Son.” 93 I understand who the officer is: “And angels,” it is said, “ministered unto Him:” 94 
and we believe that He will come with His angels to judge the quick and the dead. I under- 
stand what is meant by the prison: evidently the punishments of darkness, which He calls 
in another passage the outer darkness: 95 for this reason, I believe, that the joy of the divine 
rewards is something internal in the mind itself, or even if anything more hidden can be 
thought of, that joy of which it is said to the servant who deserved well, “Enter thou into 
the joy of thy Lord;” 96 just as also, under this republican government, one who is thrust 
into prison is sent out from the council chamber, or from the palace of the judge. 

30. But now, with respect to paying the uttermost farthing, it may be understood 
without absurdity either as standing for this, that nothing is left unpunished; just as in 
common speech we also say “to the very dregs,” when we wish to express that something is 
so drained out that nothing is left: or by the expression “the uttermost farthing” earthly sins 
may be meant. For as a fourth part of the separate component parts of this world, and in 
fact as the last, the earth is found; so that you begin with the heavens, you reckon the air the 
second, water the third, the earth the fourth. It may therefore seem to be suitably said, “till 
thou hast paid the last fourth,” in the sense of “till thou hast expiated thy earthly sins:” for 
this the sinner also heard, Earth thou art, and unto earth shall thou return.” Then, as to 
the expression “till thou hast paid,” I wonder if it does not mean that punishment which is 
called eternal. 99 For whence is that debt paid where there is now no opportunity given of 

92 Benevolus ; Vulgate, consentiens. What is matter of prudence in a civil case, becomes matter of life and 
death in spiritual things. The Lord does not intend to inculcate simply a law of worldly prudence as asserted by 
a few modern commentators. 

93 John v. 22. 

94 Matt.iv.il. 

95 Matt. viii. 12. 

96 Matt. xxv. 23. 

97 The word translated “farthing” means literally “a fourth part” and on this original sense Augustin’s second 
interpretation is based. 

98 Gen. iii. 19. 

99 Universalists have quoted the passage to prove the doctrine that punishment will not be endless, others 
in favor of purgatory. The main idea is the inexorable rigor of the divine justice against the impenitent. “The 


40 


Chapter XI 


repenting and of leading a more correct life? For perhaps the expression “till thou hast paid” 
stands here in the same sense as in that passage where it is said, “Sit Thou at my right hand, 
until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool;” 100 for not even when the enemies have been 
put under His feet, will He cease to sit at the right hand: or that statement of the apostle, 
“For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet;” 101 for not even when they 
have been put under His feet, will He cease to reign. Hence, as it is there understood of Him 
respecting whom it is said, “He must reign, till He hath put His enemies under His feet,” 
that He will reign for ever, inasmuch as they will be for ever under His feet: so here it may 
be understood of him respecting whom it is said, “Thou shalt by no means come out thence, 
till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,” that he will never come out; for he is always 
paying the uttermost farthing, so long as he is suffering the everlasting punishment of his 
earthly sins. Nor would I say this in such a way as that I should seem to prevent a more 
careful discussion respecting the punishment of sins, as to how in the Scriptures it is called 
eternal; although in all possible ways it is to be avoided rather than known. 

31. But let us now see who the adversary himself is, with whom we are enjoined to agree 
quickly, whiles we are in the way with him. For he is either the devil, or a man, or the flesh, 
or God, or His commandment. But I do not see how we should be enjoined to be on 
terms of goodwill, i.e. to be of one heart or of one mind, with the devil. For some have 
rendered the Greek word which is found here “of one heart,” others “of one mind:” but 
neither are we enjoined to show goodwill to the devil (for where there is goodwill there is 
friendship: and no one would say that we are to make friends with the devil); nor is it expedi- 
ent to come to an agreement with him, against whom we have declared war by once for all 
renouncing him, and on conquering whom we shall be crowned; nor ought we now to yield 
to him, for if we had never yielded to him, we should never have fallen into such miseries. 
Again, as to the adversary being a man, although we are enjoined to live peaceably with all 
men, as far as lieth in us, where certainly goodwill, and concord, and consent maybe under- 
stood; yet I do not see how I can accept the view, that we are delivered to the judge by a 
man, in a case where I understand Christ to be the judge, “before” whose “judgment-seat 
we must all appear, as the apostle says: how then is he to deliver me to the judge, who 
will appear equally with me before the judge? Or if any one is delivered to the judge because 


whole tone of the passage is that of one who seeks to deepen the sense of danger, not to make light of it; to make 
men feel that they cannot pay their debt, though God may forgive it freely” (Plumptre). 

100 Ps. cx. 1. 

101 1 Cor. xv. 25. 

102 “The devil” (Clemens Alex.); “conscience” (Euthymius, Zig. ) ; “the man who has done the injury” (Meyer, 
Tholuck, Lange, Trench, etc.) 

103 2 Cor. v. 10. Exhiberi ; Vulgate, manifestari. 


41 


Chapter XI 


he has injured a man, although the party who has been injured does not deliver him, it is a 
much more suitable view, that the guilty party is delivered to the judge by that law against 
which he acted when he injured the man. And this for the additional reason, that if any one 
has injured a man by killing him, there will be no time now in which to agree with him; for 
he is not now in the way with him, i.e. in this life: and yet a remedy will not on that account 
be excluded, if one repents and flees for refuge with the sacrifice of a broken heart to the 
mercy of Him who forgives the sins of those who turn to Him, and who rejoices more over 
one penitent than over ninety- nine just persons. 104 But much less do I see how we are en- 
joined to bear goodwill towards, or to agree with, or to yield to, the flesh. For it is sinners 
rather who love their flesh, and agree with it, and yield to it; but those who bring it into 
subjection are not the parties who yield to it, but rather they compel it to yield to them. 

32. Perhaps, therefore, we are enjoined to yield to God, and to be well-disposed towards 
Him, in order that we may be reconciled to Him, from whom by sinning we have turned 
away, so that He can be called our adversary. For He is rightly called the adversary of those 
whom He resists, for “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble;” 105 and 
“pride is the beginning of all sin, but the beginning of man’s pride is to become apostate 
from God;” 106 and the apostle says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to 

1 07 

God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” 
And from this it may be perceived that no nature [as being] bad is an enemy to God, inas- 
much as the very parties who were enemies are being reconciled. Whoever, therefore, while 
in this way, i.e. in this life, shall not have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, 
will be delivered to the judge by Him, for “the Father judgeth no man, but hath delivered 
all judgment to the Son;” and so the other things which are described in this section follow, 
which we have already discussed. There is only one thing which creates a difficulty as regards 
this interpretation, viz. how it can be rightly said that we are in the way with God, if in this 
passage He Himself is to be understood as the adversary of the wicked, with whom we are 
enjoined to be reconciled quickly; unless, perchance, because He is everywhere, we also, 
while we are in this way, are certainly with Him. For as it is said, “If I ascend up into heaven, 
Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the 
morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, 
and Thy right hand shall hold me.” Or if the view is not accepted, that the wicked are 
said to be with God, although there is nowhere where God is not present, — just as we do 


104 Luke xv. 7. 

105 Jas. iv. 6. 

106 Ecclus. x. 13, 12. 

107 Rom. v. 10. 

108 Ps. cxxxix. 8-10. 


42 


Chapter XI 


not say that the blind are with the light, although the light surrounds their eyes, — there is 
one resource remaining: that we should understand the adversary here as being the com- 
mandment of God. For what is so much an adversary to those who wish to sin as the com- 
mandment of God, i.e. His law and divine Scripture, which has been given us for this life, 
that it may be with us in the way, which we must not contradict, lest it deliver us to the 
judge, but which we ought to submit to quickly? For no one knows when he may depart out 
of this life. Now, who is it that submits to divine Scripture, save he who reads or hears it 
piously, deferring to it as of supreme authority; so that what he understands he does not 
hate on this account, that he feels it to be opposed to his sins, but rather loves being reproved 
by it, and rejoices that his maladies are not spared until they are healed; and so that even in 
respect to what seems to him obscure or absurd, he does not therefore raise contentious 
contradictions, but prays that he may understand, yet remembering that goodwill and rev- 
erence are to be manifested towards so great an authority? But who does this, unless just 
the man who has come, not harshly threatening, but in the meekness of piety, for the purpose 
of opening and ascertaining the contents of his father’s will? “Blessed,” therefore, “are the 
meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Let us see what follows. 


43 



Chapter XII 


Chapter XII. 

33. “Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 
but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed 
adultery with her already in his heart.” The lesser righteousness, therefore, is not to commit 
adultery by carnal connection; but the greater righteousness of the kingdom of God is not 
to commit adultery in the heart. Now, the man who does not commit adultery in the heart, 
much more easily guards against committing adultery in actual fact. Hence He who gave 
the later precept confirmed the earlier; for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. 
It is well worthy of consideration that He did not say, Whosoever lusteth after a woman, 
but,” Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her,” 109 i.e. turneth toward her with this 
aim and this intent, that he may lust after her; which, in fact, is not merely to be tickled 110 
by fleshly delight, but fully to consent to lust; so that the forbidden appetite is not restrained, 
but satisfied if opportunity should be given. 

34. For there are three things which go to complete sin: the suggestion of, the taking 
pleasure in, and the consenting to. Suggestion takes place either by means of memory, or 
by means of the bodily senses, when we see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch anything. 
And if it give us pleasure to enjoy this, this pleasure, if illicit, must be restrained. Just as 
when we are fasting, and on seeing food the appetite of the palate is stirred up, this does not 
happen without pleasure; but we do not consent to this liking, and 111 we repress it by the 
right of reason, which has the supremacy. But if consent shall take place, the sin will be 
complete, known to God in our heart, although it may not become known to men by deed. 
There are, then, these steps: the suggestion is made, as it were, by a serpent, that is to say, 
by a fleeting and rapid, i.e. a temporary, movement of bodies: for if there are also any such 
images moving about in the soul, they have been derived from without from the body; and 
if any hidden sensation of the body besides those five senses touches the soul, that also is 
temporary and fleeting; and therefore the more clandestinely it glides in, so as to affect the 
process of thinking, the more aptly is it compared to a serpent. Hence these three stages, as 
I was beginning to say, resemble that transaction which is described in Genesis, so that the 
suggestion and a certain measure of suasion is put forth, as it were, by the serpent; but the 
taking pleasure in it lies in the carnal appetite, as it were in Eve; and the consent lies in the 
reason, as it were in the man: and these things having been acted through, the man is driven 
forth, as it were, from paradise, i.e. from the most blessed light of righteousness, into 


109 The Greek Ttpoc; to £7U0uprjaat refers to sin of intent. “The particle itp6<; indicates the mental aim” 
(Tholuck, Meyer, etc.). So Augustin, rightly: “Qui hoc fine et hoc animo attenderit.” 

110 Titillari. 

111 The reading “if’ has been proposed by some. 


44 



Chapter XII 


119 

death — in all respects most righteously. For he who puts forth suasion does not compel. 

And all natures are beautiful in their order, according to their gradations; but we must not 
descend from the higher, among which the rational mind has its place assigned, to the lower. 
Nor is any one compelled to do this; and therefore, if he does it, he is punished by the just 
law of God, for he is not guilty of this unwillingly. But yet, previous to habit, either there is 
no pleasure, or it is so slight that there is hardly any; and to yield to it is a great sin, as such 
pleasure is unlawful. Now, when any one does yield, he commits sin in the heart. If, however, 
he also proceeds to action, the desire seems to be satisfied and extinguished; but afterwards, 
when the suggestion is repeated, a greater pleasure is kindled, which, however, is as yet 
much less than that which by continuous practice is converted into habit. For it is very dif- 
ficult to overcome this; and yet even habit itself, if one does not prove untrue to himself, 
and does not shrink back in dread from the Christian warfare, he will get the better of under 
His {i.e. Christ’s) leadership and assistance; and thus, in accordance with primitive peace 
and order, both the man is subject to Christ, and the woman is subject to the man. 

35. Hence, just as we arrive at sin by three steps, — suggestion, pleasure, consent, — so of 
sin itself there are three varieties, — in heart, in deed, in habit, — as it were, three deaths: one, 
as it were, in the house, i.e. when we consent to lust in the heart; a second now, as it were, 
brought forth outside the gate, when assent goes forward into action; a third, when the mind 
is pressed down by the force of bad habit, as if by a mound of earth, and is now, as it were, 
rotting in the sepulchre. And whoever reads the Gospel perceives that our Lord raised to 
life these three varieties of the dead. And perhaps he reflects what differences may be found 
in the very word of Him who raises them, when He says on one occasion, “Damsel, arise;” 114 
on another, “Young man, 115 I say unto thee, Arise;” 116 and when on another occasion He 
groaned in the spirit, and wept, and again groaned, and then afterwards “cried with a loud 

117 

voice, Lazarus, come forth.” 

36. And therefore, under the category of the adultery mentioned in this section, we must 
understand all fleshly and sensual lust. For when Scripture so constantly speaks of idolatry 
as fornication, and the Apostle Paul calls avarice by the name of idolatry, who doubts 
but that every evil lust is rightly called fornication, since the soul, neglecting the higher law 
by which it is ruled, and prostituting itself for the base pleasure of the lower nature as its 


112 Gen. iii. 

113 1 Cor. xi. 3 and Eph. v. 23. 

114 Mark v. 41. 

115 Juvenis-, Vulgate, adolescens. 

116 Lukevii. 14. 

117 John xi. 33-44. 

118 Col. iii. 5 and Eph. v. 5. 


45 


Chapter XII 


reward (so to speak), is thereby corrupted? And therefore let every one who feels carnal 
pleasure rebelling against right inclination in his own case through the habit of sinning, by 
whose unsubdued violence he is dragged into captivity, recall to mind as much as he can 
what kind of peace he has lost by sinning, and let him cry out, “O wretched man that I am! 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ .” 119 
For in this way, when he cries out that he is wretched, in the act of bewailing he implores 
the help of a comforter. Nor is it a small approach to blessedness, when he has come to know 
his wretchedness; and therefore “blessed” also “are they that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted.” 


119 Rom. vii. 24, 25. 

120 Lugentes ; Vulgate, qui lugent. 


46 


Chapter XIII 


Chapter XIII. 

37. In the next place, He goes on to say: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, 
and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and 
not that thy whole body should go into hell.” Here, certainly, there is need of great 
courage in order to cut off one’s members. For whatever it is that is meant by the “eye,” 
undoubtedly it is such a thing as is ardently loved. For those who wish to express their affec- 
tion strongly are wont to speak thus: I love him as my own eyes, or even more than my own 
eyes. Then, when the word “right” is added, it is meant perhaps to intensify the strength of 
the affection. ' For although these bodily eyes of ours are turned in a common direction 
for the purpose of seeing, and if both are turned they have equal power, yet men are more 
afraid of losing the right one. So that the sense in this case is: Whatever it is which thou so 
lovest that thou reckonest it as a right eye, if it offends thee, i.e. if it proves a hindrance to 
thee on the way to true happiness, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is profitable for 
thee, that one of these which thou so lovest that they cleave to thee as if they were members, 
should perish, rather than that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 

38. But since He follows it up with a similar statement respecting the right hand, “If thy 
right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one 
of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should go 124 into hell,” He 
compels us to inquire more carefully what He has spoken of as an eye. And as regards this 
inquiry, nothing occurs to me as a more suitable explanation than a greatly beloved friend: 
for this, certainly, is something which we may rightly call a member which we ardently love; 
and this friend a counsellor, for it is an eye, as it were, pointing out the road; and that in 
divine things, for it is the right eye: so that the left is indeed a beloved counsellor, but in 
earthly matters, pertaining to the necessities of the body; concerning which as a cause of 
stumbling it was superfluous to speak, inasmuch as not even the right was to be spared. 
Now, a counsellor in divine things is a cause of stumbling, if he endeavours to lead one into 
any dangerous heresy under the guise of religion and doctrine. Hence also let the right hand 


121 Eat-, Vulgate, mittatur. 

122 Not literally (Fritzsche). Excision of the members would not of itself destroy the lust of the heart. 

123 So Meyer et al. What Robert South says ( Sermon on John vii. 17) of the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, 
can certainly be applied here: “All the particulars of Matt, v.-vii. are wrapt up in the doctrine of self-denial, 
prescribing to the world the most inward purity of heart, and a constant conflict with all our sensual appetites 
and worldly interests,” etc. Augustin’s interpretation is correct as far as it goes, but it is too restricted. Christ 
does not here insist upon the renunciation of sinful lusts, but upon the evasion of occasions of sin. What is 
harmless and innocent of itself, when through any temperament or condition it becomes an occasion of sinning, 
is to be relinquished. 

124 Eat. So Vulgate. 


47 


Chapter XIII 


be taken in the sense of a beloved helper and assistant in divine works: for in like manner 
as contemplation is rightly understood as having its seat in the eye, so action in the right 
hand; so that the left hand may be understood in reference to works which are necessary 
for this life, and for the body. 


48 



Chapter XIV 


Chapter XIV. 

39. “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of 
divorcement.” This is the lesser righteousness of the Pharisees, which is not opposed by 
what our Lord says: “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for 

ITT 

the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her 

1 O/T 

that is loosed from her husband committeth adultery.” For He who gave the command- 
ment that a writing of divorcement should be given, did not give the commandment that a 
wife should be put away; but “whosoever shall put away,” says He, “let him give her a writing 
of divorcement,” in order that the thought of such a writing might moderate the rash anger 
of him who was getting rid of his wife. And, therefore, He who sought to interpose a delay 
in putting away, indicated as far as He could to hard-hearted men that He did not wish 
separation. And accordingly the Lord Himself in another passage, when a question was 
asked Him as to this matter, gave this reply: “Moses did so because of the hardness of your 
hearts.” For however hard-hearted a man may be who wishes to put away his wife, when 
he reflects that, on a writing of divorcement being given her, she could then without risk 
marry another, he would be easily appeased. Our Lord, therefore, in order to confirm that 
principle, that a wife should not lightly be put away, made the single exception of fornication; 
but enjoins that all other annoyances, if any such should happen to spring up, be borne with 
fortitude for the sake of conjugal fidelity and for the sake of chastity; and he also calls that 
man an adulterer who should marry her that has been divorced by her husband. And the 
Apostle Paul shows the limit of this state of affairs, for he says it is to be observed as long as 
her husband liveth; but on the husband’s death he gives permission to marry. For he 
himself also held by this rule, and therein brings forward not his own advice, as in the case 
of some of his admonitions, but a command by the Lord when he says: “And unto the 
married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 
but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let 

i o 1 

not the husband put away his wife.” I believe that, according to a similar rule, if he shall 
put her away, he is to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to his wife. For it may happen 
that he puts away his wife for the cause of fornication, which our Lord wished to make an 


125 Per alias nuptias, quarum potestatem dat divortium (“by another marriage, power of which divorce 
gives.” — Bengel). So also Meyer, Alford, etc. 

126 Solutam a viro...moechatur, Vulgate, dimissam. . .adulterat. 

127 Matt. xix. 8. 

128 Rom. vii. 2, 3. 

129 In conjugio. . .mulierem; Vulgate, matrimonio...uxorem. 

130 In conjugio. ..rnn/ierem; Vulgate, matrimonio...uxorem. 

131 1 Cor. vii. 10, 11. 


49 


Chapter XIV 


exception of. But now, if she is not allowed to marry while the husband is living from whom 

she has departed, nor he to take another while the wife is living whom he has put away, 

much less is it right to commit unlawful acts of fornication with any parties whomsoever. 

More blessed indeed are those marriages to be reckoned, where the parties concerned, 

whether after the procreation of children, or even through contempt of such an earthly 

progeny, have been able with common consent to practise self-restraint toward each other: 

both because nothing is done contrary to that precept whereby the Lord forbids a spouse 

to be put away (for he does not put her away who lives with her not carnally, but spiritually), 

and because that principle is observed to which the apostle gives expression, “It remaineth, 

jj 1 32 

that they that have wives be as though they had none.” 


132 ICor.vii. 29. 


50 


Chapter XV 


Chapter XV. 

40. But it is rather that statement which the Lord Himself makes in another passage 
which is wont to disturb the minds of the little ones, who nevertheless earnestly desire to 
live now according to the precepts of Christ: “If any man come to me, and hate not his 
father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life 
also, he cannot be my disciple.” For it may seem a contradiction to the less intelligent, 
that here He forbids the putting away of a wife saving for the cause of fornication, but that 
elsewhere He affirms that no one can be a disciple of His who does not hate his wife. But if 
He were speaking with reference to sexual intercourse, He would not place father, and 
mother, and brothers in the same category. But how true it is, that “the kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, and they that use violence take it by force!” 134 For how great violence is 
necessary, in order that a man may love his enemies, and hate his father, and mother, and 
wife, and children, and brothers! For He commands both things who calls us to the kingdom 
of heaven. And how these things do not contradict each other, it is easy to show under His 
guidance; but after they have been understood, it is difficult to carry them out, although 
this too is very easy when He Himself assists us. For in that eternal kingdom to which He 
has vouchsafed to call His disciples, to whom He also gives the name of brothers, there are 
no temporal relationships of this sort. For “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither 

1 or 

bond nor free, there is neither male nor female;” “but Christ is all, and in all.” And the 

i o/r 

Lord Himself says: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, 
but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Hence it is necessary that whoever wishes here 
and now to aim after the life of that kingdom, should hate not the persons themselves, but 
those temporal relationships by which this life of ours, which is transitory and is comprised 
in being born and dying, is upheld; because he who does not hate them, does not yet love 
that life where there is no condition of being born and dying, which unites parties in earthly 
wedlock. 

41. Therefore, if I were to ask any good Christian who has a wife, and even though he 
may still be having children by her, whether he would like to have his wife in that kingdom; 
mindful in any case of the promises of God, and of that life where this incorruptible shall 

1 on 

put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; though at present hesitating 
from the greatness, or at least from a certain degree of love, he would reply with execration 


133 Lukexiv. 26. 

134 Matt xi. 12. Qui vimfaciunt diripiunt illud ; Vulgate, violenti rapiunt illud. 

135 Gal. iii. 28 and Col. iii. 11. 

136 Uxores ducent; Vulgate, nubentur. 

137 Matt. xxii. 30. 

138 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54. 


51 


Chapter XV 


that he is strongly averse to it. Were I to ask him again, whether he would like his wife to 
live with him there, after the resurrection, when she had undergone that angelic change 
which is promised to the saints, he would reply that he desired this as strongly as he reprob- 
ated the other. Thus a good Christian is found in one and the same woman to love the 
creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed; but to hate the corruptible 
and mortal conjugal connection and sexual intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is character- 
istic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife. So also he loves his enemy, not 
in as far as he is an enemy, but in as far as he is a man; so that he wishes the same prosperity 
to come to him as to himself, viz. that he may reach the kingdom of heaven rectified and 
renewed. This is to be understood both of father and mother and the other ties of blood, 
that we hate in them what has fallen to the lot of the human race in being born and dying, 
but that we love what can be carried along with us to those realms where no one says, My 
Father; but all say to the one God, “Our Father:” and no one says, My mother; but all say to 
that other Jerusalem, Our mother: and no one says, My brother; but each says respecting 
every other, Our brother. But in fact there will be a marriage on our part as of one spouse 
(when we have been brought together into unity), with Him who hath delivered us from 
the pollution of this world by the shedding of His own blood. It is necessary, therefore, that 
the disciple of Christ should hate these things which pass away, in those whom he desires 
along with himself to reach those things which shall for ever remain; and that he should the 
more hate these things in them, the more he loves themselves. 

42. A Christian may therefore live in concord with his wife, whether with her providing 
for a fleshly craving, a thing which the apostle speaks by permission, not by commandment; 
or providing for the procreation of children, which may be at present in some degree 
praiseworthy; or providing for a brotherly and sisterly fellowship, without any corporeal 
connection, having his wife as though he had her not, as is most excellent and sublime in 
the marriage of Christians: yet so that in her he hates the name of temporal relationship, 
and loves the hope of everlasting blessedness. For we hate, without doubt, that respecting 
which we wish at least, that at some time hereafter it should not exist; as, for instance, this 
same life of ours in the present world, which if we were not to hate as being temporal, we 
would not long for the future life, which is not conditioned by time. For as a substitute for 
this life the soul is put, respecting which it is said in that passage, “If a man hate not his own 
soul also, he cannot be my disciple.” For that corruptible meat is necessary for this life, 
of which the Lord Himself says, “Is not the soul 140 more than meat?” i.e. this life to which 
meat is necessary. And when He says that He would lay down His soul 141 for His sheep, He 
undoubtedly means this life, as He is declaring that He is going to die for us. 


139 Lukexiv. 26. 

140 Matt. vi. 25. 

141 Johnx. 15. 


52 


Chapter XVI 


Chapter XVI. 

43. Here there arises a second question, when the Lord allows a wife to be put away for 
the cause of fornication, in what latitude of meaning fornication is to be understood in this 
passage, — whether in the sense understood by all, viz. that we are to understand that fornic- 
ation to be meant which is committed in acts of uncleanness; or whether, in accordance 
with the usage of Scripture in speaking of fornication (as has been mentioned above), as 
meaning all unlawful corruption, such as idolatry or covetousness, and therefore, of course, 
every transgression of the law on account of the unlawful lust [involved in it] . 142 But let us 
consult the apostle, that we may not say rashly. “And unto the married I command,” says 
he, “yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, 
let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” For it may happen that she 
departs for that cause for which the Lord gives permission to do so. Or, if a woman is at 
liberty to put away her husband for other causes besides that of fornication, and the husband 
is not at liberty, what answer shall we give respecting this statement which he has made af- 
terwards, “And let not the husband put away his wife”? Wherefore did he not add, saving 
for the cause of fornication, which the Lord permits, unless because he wishes a similar rule 
to be understood, that if he shall put away his wife (which he is permitted to do for the cause 
of fornication), he is to remain without a wife, or be reconciled to his wife? For it would not 
be a bad thing for a husband to be reconciled to such a woman as that to whom, when 
nobody had dared to stone her, the Lord said, “Go, and sin no more.” 143 And for this reason 
also, because He who says, It is not lawful to put away one’s wife saving for the cause of 
fornication, forces him to retain his wife, if there should be no cause of fornication: but if 
there should be, He does not force him to put her away, but permits him, just as when it is 
said, Let it not be lawful for a woman to marry another, unless her husband be dead; if she 
shall marry before the death of her husband, she is guilty; if she shall not marry after the 
death of her husband, she is not guilty, for she is not commanded to marry, but merely 
permitted. If, therefore, there is a like rule in the said law of marriage between man and 
woman, to such an extent that not merely of the woman has the same apostle said, “The 


142 Augustin expresses himself ( Retract . I. xix. 6) as having misgivings about his own explanation of this 
matter here. He advises readers to go to his other writings on the subject of marriage and divorce, or to the 
works of other writers. He says all sin is not fornication {omne peccatum fornicatio non est ); and to determine 
which sins are fornication, and when a wife may be dismissed, is a most broad ( latebrosissima ) question. He 
calls the question a most difficult ( difficillimam ) one, and says, “But verily I feel that I have not come to the 
perfect conclusion of this matter ( imo non me pervenisse ad hujus rei perfectionem sentio.” Retract, ii. 57). Some 
of his treatises on the marriage relation: De Bono Conjugali; De Conjugiis Adulterinis ; De Nuptiis et Concupis- 
cientia. 

143 Johnviii. 11. Vide deinceps ne pecces; Vulgate, jam amplius noli peccare. 


53 


Chapter XVI 


wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband;” but he has not been silent respecting 
him, saying, “And likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the 
wife;” — if, then, the rule is similar, there is no necessity for understanding that it is lawful 
for a woman to put away her husband, saving for the cause of fornication, as is the case also 
with the husband. 

44. It is therefore to be considered in what latitude of meaning we ought to understand 
the word fornication, and the apostle is to be consulted, as we were beginning to do. For he 
goes on to say, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” Here, first, we must see who are “the 
rest,” for he was speaking before on the part of the Lord to those who are married, but now, 
as from himself, he speaks to “the rest:” hence perhaps to the unmarried, but this does not 
follow. For thus he continues: “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be 
pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” Hence, even now he is speaking to 
those who are married. What, then, is his object in saying “to the rest,” unless that he was 
speaking before to those who were so united, that they were alike as to their faith in Christ; 
but that now he is speaking to “the rest,” i.e. to those who are so united, that they are not 
both believers? But what does he say to them? “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, 
and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath 
an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not put him 
away.” If, therefore, he does not give a command as from the Lord, but advises as from 
himself, then this good result springs from it, that if any one act otherwise, he is not a 
transgressor of a command, just as he says a little after respecting virgins, that he has no 
command of the Lord, but that he gives his advice; and he so praises virginity, that whoever 
will may avail himself of it; yet if he shall not do so, he may not be judged to have acted 
contrary to a command. For there is one thing which is commanded, another respecting 
which advice is given, another still which is allowed. 144 A wife is commanded not to depart 
from her husband; and if she depart, to remain unmarried, or to be reconciled to her husband: 
therefore it is not allowable for her to act otherwise. But a believing husband is advised, if 
he has an unbelieving wife who is pleased to dwell with him, not to put her away: therefore 
it is allowable also to put her away, because it is no command of the Lord that he should 
not put her away, but an advice of the apostle: just as a virgin is advised not to marry; but 
if she shall marry, she will not indeed adhere to the advice, but she will not act in opposition 
to a command. Allowance is given 145 when it is said, “But I speak this by permission, and 


144 Ignoscitur, lit. “is pardoned.” 

145 Lit. “it is pardoned.” 

54 



Chapter XVI 


not of commandment.” And therefore, if it is allowable that an unbelieving wife should be 
put away, although it is better not to put her away, and yet not allowable, according to the 
commandment of the Lord, that a wife should be put away, saving for the cause of fornication, 
[then] unbelief itself also is fornication. 

45. For what sayest thou, O apostle? Surely, that a believing husband who has an unbe- 
lieving wife pleased to dwell with him is not to put her away? Just so, says he. When, therefore, 
the Lord also gives this command, that a man should not put away his wife, saving for the 
cause of fornication, why dost thou say here, “I speak, not the Lord”? For this reason, viz. 
that the idolatry which unbelievers follow, and every other noxious superstition, is fornica- 
tion. Now, the Lord permitted a wife to be put away for the cause of fornication; but in 
permitting, He did not command it: He gave opportunity to the apostle for advising that 
whoever wished should not put away an unbelieving wife, in order that, perchance, in this 
way she might become a believer. “For,” says he, “the unbelieving husband is sanctified in 
the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother.” 146 I suppose it had already 
occurred that some wives were embracing the faith by means of their believing husbands, 
and husbands by means of their believing wives; and although not mentioning names, he 
yet urged his case by examples, in order to strengthen his counsel. Then he goes on to say, 
“Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” For now the children were 
Christians, who were sanctified at the instance of one of the parents, or with the consent of 
both; which would not take place unless the marriage were broken up by one of the parties 
becoming a believer, and unless the unbelief of the spouse were borne with so far as to give 
an opportunity of believing. This, therefore, is the counsel of Him whom I regard as having 
spoken the words, “Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” 147 

46. Moreover, if unbelief is fornication, and idolatry unbelief, and covetousness idolatry, 
it is not to be doubted that covetousness also is fornication. Who, then, in that case can 
rightly separate any unlawful lust whatever from the category of fornication, if covetousness 
is fornication? And from this we perceive, that because of unlawful lusts, not only those of 
which one is guilty in acts of uncleanness with another’s husband or wife, but any unlawful 
lusts whatever, which cause the soul making a bad use of the body to wander from the law 
of God, and to be ruinously and basely corrupted, a man may, without crime, put away his 
wife, and a wife her husband, because the Lord makes the cause of fornication an exception; 
which fornication, in accordance with the above considerations, we are compelled to under- 
stand as being general and universal. 


146 1 Cor. vii. 14. Augustin conforms to the approved reading in the Greek text: in uxore. . . infratre. Vulgate, 
per mulierem,...per virum. (See Revised Version.) 

147 Luke x. 35. 


55 


Chapter XVI 


47. But when He says, “saving for the cause of fornication,” He has not said of which of 
them, whether the man or the woman. For not only is it allowed to put away a wife who 
commits fornication; but whoever puts away that wife even by whom he is himself compelled 
to commit fornication, puts her away undoubtedly for the cause of fornication. As, for in- 
stance, if a wife should compel one to sacrifice to idols, the man who puts away such an one 
puts her away for the cause of fornication, not only on her part, but on his own also: on her 
part, because she commits fornication; on his own, that he may not commit fornication. 
Nothing, however, is more unjust than for a man to put away his wife because of fornication, 
if he himself also is convicted of committing fornication. For that passage occurs to one: 
“For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest 
the same things.” 149 And for this reason, whosoever wishes to put away his wife because of 
fornication, ought first to be cleared of fornication; and a like remark I would make respecting 
the woman also. 

48. But in reference to what He says, “Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced 150 
committeth adultery,” it may be asked whether she also who is married commits adultery 
in the same way as he does who marries her. For she also is commanded to remain unmarried, 
or be reconciled to her husband; but this in the case of her departing from her husband. 
There is, however, a great difference whether she put away or be put away. For if she put 
away her husband, and marry another, she seems to have left her former husband from a 
desire of changing her marriage connection, which is, without doubt, an adulterous thought. 
But if she be put away by the husband, with whom she desired to be, he indeed who marries 
her commits adultery, according to the Lord’s declaration; but whether she also be involved 
in a like crime is uncertain, — although it is much less easy to discover how, when a man 
and woman have intercourse one with another with equal consent, one of them should be 
an adulterer, and the other not. To this is to be added the consideration, that if he commits 
adultery by marrying her who is divorced from her husband (although she does not put 
away, but is put away), she causes him to commit adultery, which nevertheless the Lord 


148 Modern commentators do not spring this question, agreeing that the fornication referred to is of the 
wife. Paulus, Dollinger (in Christ, u. Kirche , to which Professor Conington replied in Cont. Rev., May, 1869) 
think the fornication of the woman was committed before her marriage. Plumptre also prefers the reference to 
ante-nuptial sin. 

149 Rom. ii. 1. 

150 tdoAcAvpevqv; that is, one divorced unlawfully who has not been guilty of fornication (so Meyer very 
positively, Stier et. al„ Alford hesitatingly). This explanation might seem to limit re-marriage to such an one, 
inasmuch as the essence of the marriage bond has not been touched (So Alford et. al.). 


56 


Chapter XVI 


forbids. And hence we infer that, whether she has been put away, or has put away her hus- 
band, it is necessary for her to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. 151 

49. Again, it is asked whether, if, with a wife’s permission, either a barren one, or one 
who does not wish to submit to intercourse, a man shall take to himself another woman, 
not another man’s wife, nor one separated from her husband, he can do so without being 

1 r-1 

chargeable with fornication? And an example is found in the Old Testament history; but 
now there are greater precepts which the human race has reached after having passed that 
stage; and those matters are to be investigated for the purpose of distinguishing the ages of 
the dispensation of that divine providence which assists the human race in the most orderly 
way; but not for the purpose of making use of the rules of living. But yet it may be asked 
whether what the apostle says, “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; 
and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife,” can be carried 
so far, that, with the permission of a wife, who possesses the power over her husband’s body, 
a man can have intercourse with another woman, who is neither another man’s wife nor 
divorced from her husband; but such an opinion is not to be entertained, lest it should seem 
that a woman also, with her husband’s permission, could do such a thing, which the instinct- 
ive feeling of every one prevents. 

50. And yet some occasions may arise, where a wife also, with the consent of her husband, 
may seem under obligation to do this for the sake of that husband himself; as, for instance, 
is said to have happened at Antioch about fifty years ago, in the times of Constantius. 
For Acyndinus, at that time prefect and at one time also consul, when he demanded of a 
certain public debtor the payment of a poundweight of gold, impelled by I know not what 
motive, did a thing which is often dangerous in the case of those magistrates to whom any- 
thing whatever is lawful, or rather is thought to be lawful, viz. threatened with an oath and 
with a vehement affirmation, that if he did not pay the foresaid gold on a certain day which 
he had fixed, he would be put to death. Accordingly, while he was being kept in cruel con- 
finement, and was unable to rid himself of that debt, the dread day began to impend and to 
draw near. He happened, however, to have a very beautiful wife, but one who had no money 
wherewith to come to the relief of her husband; and when a certain rich man had had his 
desires inflamed by the beauty of this woman, and had learned that her husband was placed 
in that critical situation, he sent to her, promising in return for a single night, if she would 
consent to hold intercourse with him, that he would give her the pound of gold. Then she, 
knowing that she herself had not power over her body, but her husband, conveyed the intel- 


151 That is, innocent or guilty, she cannot marry without committing adultery. The Roman-Catholic Church 
forbids divorces, but permits an indefinite separation a mensa et toro (“from table and bed”). 

152 Abraham taking Hagar with Sarah’s consent. 

153 About the year 343; for Augustin wrote this treatise about the year 393. 


57 



Chapter XVI 


ligence to him, telling him that she was prepared to do it for the sake of her husband, but 
only if he himself, the lord by marriage of her body, to whom all that chastity was due, should 
wish it to be done, as if disposing of his own property for the sake of his life. He thanked 
her, and commanded that it should be done, in no wise judging that it was an adulterous 
embrace, because it was no lust, but great love for her husband, that demanded it, at his 
own bidding and will. The woman came to the villa of that rich man, did what the lewd man 
wished; but she gave her body only to her husband, who desired not, as was usual, his mar- 
riage rights, but life. She received the gold; but he who gave it took away stealthily what he 
had given, and substituted a similar bag with earth in it. When the woman, however, on 
reaching her home, discovered it, she rushed forth in public in order to proclaim the deed 
she had done, animated by the same tender affection for her husband by which she had 
been forced to do it; she goes to the prefect, confesses everything, shows the fraud that had 
been practised upon her. Then indeed the prefect first pronounces himself guilty, because 
the matter had come to this by means of his threats, and, as if pronouncing sentence upon 
another, decided that a pound of gold should be brought into the treasury from the property 
of Acyndinus; but that she (the woman) be installed as mistress of that piece of land whence 
she had received the earth instead of the gold. I offer no opinion either way from this story: 
let each one form a judgment as he pleases, for the history is not drawn from divinely au- 
thoritative sources; but yet, when the story is related, man’s instinctive sense does not so 
revolt against what was done in the case of this woman, at her husband’s bidding, as we 
formerly shuddered when the thing itself was set forth without any example. But in this 
section of the Gospel nothing is to be more steadily kept in view, than that so great is the 
evil of fornication, that, while married people are bound to one another by so strong a bond, 
this one cause of divorce is excepted; but as to what fornication is, that we have already 
discussed. 154 


154 The law permitted divorce for “some uncleanness” (Deut. xxiv. 1). In the time of Christ divorce was allowed 
on trivial grounds. While Schammai interpreted the Deuteronomic prescription of moral uncleanness or adultery, 
Hillel interpreted it to include physical uncleanness or unattractiveness. A wife’s cooking her husband’s food 
unpalatably he declared to be a legitimate cause for dissolution of the marriage bond. Opposing the loose views 
current, Christ declared that it was on account of the “hardness of their hearts” that Moses had suffered them 
to put away their wives, and asserted adultery to be the only allowable reason for divorce. The question whether 
the innocent party may marry, is beset with great difficulties in view of this passage and Matt. xix. 9. The answer 
turns somewhat upon the construction of the passage. Augustin here, the Council of Trent (and so the Roman- 
Catholic Church), Weiss, Mansel, and others hold that all marriage of a divorced person is declared illegal. In 
another place ( De Conj. Adult, i. 9) Augustin says, “Why, I say, did the Lord interject ‘the cause of fornication,’ 
and not say rather, in a general way, Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery’? ... I 
think, because the Lord wishes to mention that which is greater. For who will deny that it is a greater adultery 


58 


Chapter XVII 


Chapter XVII. 

51. “Again,” says He, “ye have heard that it hath been said to them of old time, Thou 
shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath: 155 But I say unto you, 
Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His 
footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear 
by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communic- 
ation be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more 156 than these cometh of evil.” The 
righteousness of the Pharisees is not to forswear oneself; and this is confirmed by Him who 
gives the command not to swear, so far as relates to the righteousness of the kingdom of 
heaven. For just as he who does not speak at all cannot speak falsely, so he who does not 
swear at all cannot swear falsely. But yet, since he who takes God to witness swears, this 
section must be carefully considered, lest the apostle should seem to have acted contrary to 
the Lord’s precept, who often swore in this way, when he says, “Now the things which I 

1 C' ~1 

write unto you, behold, before God I lie not;” and again, “The God and Father of our 

i ro 

Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” Of like nature 
also is that asseveration, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel 


to marry another when the divorced wife has not committed fornication than when any one divorces his wife 
and then marries another? Not because this is not adultery, but because it is a lesser sort.” The Apost. Constitutions 
(vii. 2) say, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, for thou dividest one flesh into two,” etc. Weiss: “Jesus everywhere 
takes it for granted that in the sight of God there is no such thing as a dissolution of the marriage bond” ( Leben 
Jesu , i. 529). President Woolsey, on the other hand, unhesitatingly declares, that, by Christ’s precepts, marriage 
is dissolved by adultery, so that the innocent party may marry again. According to this passage, the woman di- 
vorced on other grounds than adultery seems to be declared adulterous if she marry. According to Matt. xix. 9 
the man who puts away his wife for adultery, seems to be permitted to marry without becoming adulterous 
himself. According to Mark x. 12 the woman had the privilege in that day of putting away her husband, but 
“there is no evidence in the Hebrew Scriptures that the woman could get herself divorced from her husband.” 
To the able treatment of Augustin, which might seem either exceedingly fearless or mawkish at the present day, 
according to the stand-point of the critic, the reader would do well to read Alford and Lange on this passage; 
Stanley on 1 Cor. vii. 11; and Woolsey, art. “Divorce” in Schaff-Herzog Encycl. Whatever may be the exact 
meaning of our Lord concerning the marriage of the innocent party, it is evident that He regards the marriage 
bond as profoundly sacred, and warrants the celebrant in binding the parties to marriage to be faithful one to 
the other “till death do you part.” He Himself said, “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put 
asunder” (Markx. 9). 

155 Jusjurandum; Vulgate, juramenta-, Greek, roue; opKOu;;. 

156 Amplius; Vulgate, abundantius. 

157 Gal. i. 20. 

158 2 Cor. xi. 31. 


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Chapter XVII 


of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers .” 159 Unless, 
perchance, one were to say that it is to be reckoned swearing only when something is spoken 
of by which one swears; so that he has not used an oath, because he has not said, by God; 
but has said, “God is witness.” It is ridiculous to think so; yet because of the contentious, or 
those very slow of apprehension, lest any one should think there is a difference, let him 
know that the apostle has used an oath in this way also, saying, “By your rejoicing, I die 
daily.” 160 And let no one think that this is so expressed as if it were said, Your rejoicing 
makes me die daily; just as it is said, By his teaching he became learned, i.e. by his teaching 
it came about that he was perfectly instructed: the Greek copies decide the matter, where 
we find it written, Nij rpv Kauxpoiv uperepav, an expression which is used only by one 
taking an oath. Thus, then, it is understood that the Lord gave the command not to swear 
in this sense, lest any one should eagerly seek after an oath as a good thing, and by the con- 
stant use of oaths sink down through force of habit into perjury. And therefore let him who 
understands that swearing is to be reckoned not among things that are good, but among 
things that are necessary, refrain as far as he can from indulging in it, unless by necessity, 
when he sees men slow to believe what it is useful for them to believe, except they be assured 
by an oath. To this, accordingly, reference is made when it is said, “Let your speech be, Yea, 
yea; Nay, nay;” this is good, and what is to be desired. “For whatsoever is more than these 
cometh of evil;” i.e., if you are compelled to swear, know that it comes of a necessity arising 
from the infirmity of those whom you are trying to persuade of something; which infirmity 
is certainly an evil, from which we daily pray to be delivered, when we say, “Deliver us from 
evil.” 161 Hence He has not said, Whatsoever is more than these is evil; for you are not doing 
what is evil when you make a good use of an oath, which, although not in itself good, is yet 
necessary in order to persuade another that you are trying to move him for some useful end; 

i si' m \ 

but it “cometh of evil” on his part by whose infirmity you are compelled to swear. But 

no one learns, unless he has had experience, how difficult it is both to get rid of a habit of 

1 

swearing, and never to do rashly what necessity sometimes compels him to do. 

is, 

23 


159 Rom. i. 9. 

160 1 Cor. xv. 31. 

161 Matt. vi. 13. 

162 Revised Version, Evil One. So Euthymius, Zig. ( auctorem habet diabolum ), Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
Fritzsche, Keim, Meyer, Plumptre, etc. The interpretation of Augustin is shared by Luther, Bengel, De Wette, 
Tholuck, Ewald, etc. 

163 Augustin is somewhat perplexed about the meaning, but decides the injunction to be directed against 
the abuse of the oath, not to forbid it wholly. The oath was permitted by the law (Lev. xxii. 11), was to be held 
sacred (Num. xxx. 2), and to be made in God’s name (Deut. vi. 13). It was customary under the Old Testament 


60 


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52. But it may be asked why, when it was said, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all,” it 
was added, “neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne,” etc., up to “neither by thy head.” I 
suppose it was for this reason, that the Jews did not think they were bound by the oath, if 
they had sworn by such things: and since they had heard it said, “Thou shalt perform unto 
the Lord thine oath,” they did not think an oath brought them under obligation to the Lord, 
if they swore by heaven, or earth, or by Jerusalem, or by their head; and this happened not 
from the fault of Him who gave the command, but because they did not rightly understand 
it. Hence the Lord teaches that there is nothing so worthless among the creatures of God, 
as that any one should think that he may swear falsely by it; since created things, from the 
highest down to the lowest, beginning with the throne of God and going down to a white 
or black hair, are ruled by divine providence. “Neither by heaven,” says He, “for it is God’s 
throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool:” i.e., when you swear by heaven or the earth, 
do not imagine that your oath does not bring you under obligation to the Lord; for you are 


to swear (Gen. xxiv. 37, Josh. ix. 15; perhaps only a solemn affirmation), and in the name of the Lord (1 Sam. 
xx. 42; Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Chrysostom, etc.). The Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Quakers understand 
the precept to forbid all oaths, even in the civil court. “Christendom, if it were fully conformed to Christ’s will, 
as it should be, would tolerate no oaths whatever” (Meyer). “The proper state of Christians is to require no 
oaths” (Alford). If interpreted as a definite prohibition of all swearing, the passage comes into conflict with 
Christ’s own example (Matt. xxvi. 63), and the apostle’s conduct in the passages quoted by Augustin. The 
meaning has been restricted to rash and frivolous oaths on the street and in the market (Keim); in daily conver- 
sation (Carr, Camb. Bible for Schools). In the ideal Christian community, where truth and honesty prevail, oaths 
will be superfluous: the simple asseverations, “Yea, nay,” will be sufficient. To this, Christ’s precept ultimately 
looks. But He, no doubt, had in mind the widespread profanity of His day, and the current opinion that only 
oaths containing the name of God were binding (Lightfoot cites from the Rabbinical books to this effect). All 
unnecessary appeals to God, as well as careless and profane swearing, are forbidden, as coming either from bad 
passions within or a want of reverence. “Prohibition would be repeal of the Mosaic law” (Plumptre). “All 
strengthening of the simple ‘Yea and nay’ is occasioned by the presence of sin and Satan in the world. There is 
no more striking proof of the existence of evil than the prevalence of the foolish, low, useless habit of swearing. 
It could never have arisen if men did not believe each other to be liars,” etc. (Schaff). “Men use their protestations 
because they are distrustful one of another. An oath is physic, which supposes disease” (M. Henry). When the 
oath is performed for the “sake of ethical interests, as when the civil authority demands it,” as seems to be necessary 
and safe for society in its present unsanctified condition, the precept does not interfere (Kostlin, art. “Oath,” 
Schaff-Herzog Encycl., Meyer, Wuttke, Alford, Tholuck, etc.). An interesting imitation of the Rabbinical casuistry 
above referred to was practised by the crafty and subtle Louis XI. Scott says (Introd. to Quentin Durward), “He 
admitted to one or two peculiar forms of oath the force of a binding obligation which he denied to all others, 
strictly preserving the secret; which mode of swearing he really accounted obligatory, as one of the most valuable 
of State secrets.” 


61 


Chapter XVII 


convicted of swearing by Him who has heaven for His throne, and the earth for His footstool. 
“Neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King;” a better expression than if He had 
said, “My [city];” although, however, we understand Him to have meant this. And, because 
He is undoubtedly the Lord, the man who swears by Jerusalem is bound by his oath to the 
Lord. “Neither shall thou swear by thy head.” Now, what could any one suppose to belong 
more to himself than his own head? But how is it ours, when we have not the power of 
making one hair white or black? Hence, whoever should wish to swear even by his own 
head, is bound by his oath to God, who in an ineffable way keeps all things in His power, 
and is everywhere present. And here also all other things are understood, which could not 
of course be enumerated; just as that saying of the apostle we have mentioned, “By your 
rejoicing, I die daily.” And to show that he was bound by this oath to the Lord, he has added, 
“which I have in Christ Jesus.” 

53. But yet (I make the remark for the sake of the carnal) we must not think that heaven 
is called God’s throne, and the earth His footstool, because God has members placed in 
heaven and in earth, in some such way as we have when we sit down; but that seat means 
judgment. And since, in this organic whole of the universe, heaven has the greatest appear- 
ance, and earth the least, — as if the divine power were more present where the beauty excels, 
but still were regulating the least degree of it in the most distant and in the lowest re- 
gions, — He is said to sit in heaven, and to tread upon the earth. But spiritually the expression 
heaven means holy souls, and earth sinful ones: and since the spiritual man judges all things, 
yet he himself is judged of no man, 164 he is suitably spoken of as the seat of God; but the 
sinner to whom it is said, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shall thou return,” 165 because, in 
accordance with that justice which assigns what is suitable to men’s deserts, he is placed 
among things that are lowest, and he who would not remain in the law is punished under 
the law, is suitably taken as His footstool. 


164 1 Cor. ii. 15. 

165 Gen. iii. 19. 


62 


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Chapter XVIII. 

54. But now, to conclude by summing up this passage, what can be named or thought 
of more laborious and toilsome, where the believing soul is straining every nerve of its in- 
dustry, than the subduing of vicious habit? Let such an one cut off the members which ob- 
struct the kingdom of heaven, and not be overwhelmed by the pain: in conjugal fidelity let 
him bear with everything which, however grievously annoying it may be, is still free from 
the guilt of unlawful corruption, i.e. of fornication: as, for instance, if any one should have 
a wife either barren, or misshapen in body, or faulty in her members, — either blind, or deaf, 
or lame, or having any other defect, — or worn out by diseases and pains and weaknesses, 
and whatever else maybe thought of exceeding horrible, fornication excepted, let him endure 
it for the sake of his plighted love and conjugal union; 166 and let him not only not put away 
such a wife, but even if he have her not, let him not marry one who has been divorced by 
her husband, though beautiful, healthy, rich, fruitful. And if it is not lawful to do such things, 
much less is it to be deemed lawful for him to come near any other unlawful embrace; and 
let him so flee from fornication, as to withdraw himself from base corruption of every sort. 
Let him speak the truth, and let him commend it not by frequent oaths, but by the probity 
of his morals; and with respect to the innumerable crowds of all bad habits rising up in re- 
bellion against him, of which, in order that all may be understood, a few have been men- 
tioned, let him betake himself to the citadel of Christian warfare, and let him lay them 
prostrate, as if from a higher ground. But who would venture to enter upon labours so great, 
unless one who is so inflamed with the love of righteousness, that, as it were utterly consumed 
with hunger and thirst, and thinking there is no life for him till that is satisfied, he puts forth 
violence to obtain the kingdom of heaven? For otherwise he will not be able bravely to endure 
all those things which the lovers of this world reckon toilsome and arduous, and altogether 
difficult in getting rid of bad habits. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which do hunger and 
thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” 

55. But yet, when any one encounters difficulty in these toils, and advancing through 
hardships and roughnesses surrounded with various temptations, and perceiving the troubles 
of his past life rise up on this side and on that, becomes afraid lest he should not be able to 
carry through what he has undertaken, let him eagerly avail himself of the counsel that he 
may obtain assistance. But what other counsel is there than this, that he who desires to have 
divine help for his own infirmity should bear that of others, and should assist it as much as 
possible? And so, therefore, let us look at the precepts of mercy. The meek and the merciful 
man, however, seem to be one and the same: but there is this difference, that the meek man, 
of whom we have spoken above, from piety does not gainsay the divine sentences which are 
brought forward against his sins, nor those statements of God which he does not yet under- 


166 Pro fide et societate. 


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stand; but he confers no benefit on him whom he does not gainsay or resist. But the merciful 
man in such a way offers no resistance, that he does it for the purpose of correcting him 
whom he would render worse by resisting. 


64 



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Chapter XIX. 

56. Hence the Lord goes on to say: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an 

1 f \ 7 

eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall 
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at 
the law, and take away thy coat [tunic, undergarment] , let him have thy cloak also. And 
whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, 169 
and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” It is the lesser righteousness 
of the Pharisees not to go beyond measure in revenge, that no one should give back more 
than he has received: and this is a great step. For it is not easy to find any one who, when 
he has received a blow, wishes merely to return the blow; and who, on hearing one word 
from a man who reviles him, is content to return only one, and that just an equivalent; but 
he avenges it more immoderately, either under the disturbing influence of anger, or because 
he thinks it just, that he who first inflicted injury should suffer more severe injury than he 
suffered who had not inflicted injury. Such a spirit was in great measure restrained by the 
law, where it was written, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;” by which expressions 
a certain measure is intended, so that the vengeance should not exceed the injury. And this 
is the beginning of peace: but perfect peace is to have no wish at all for such vengeance. 

57. Hence, between that first course which goes beyond the law, that a greater evil should 
be inflicted in return for a lesser, and this to which the Lord has given expression for the 
purpose of perfecting the disciples, that no evil at all should be inflicted in return for evil, a 
middle course holds a certain place, viz. that as much be paid back as has been received; by 
means of which enactment the transition is made from the highest discord to the highest 
concord, according to the distribution of times. See, therefore, at how great a distance any 
one who is the first to do harm to another, with the desire of injuring and hurting him, 
stands from him who, even when injured, does not payback the injury. That man, however, 
who is not the first to do harm to any one, but who yet, when injured, inflicts a greater injury 
in return, either in will or in deed, has so far withdrawn himself from the highest injustice, 
and made so far an advance to the highest righteousness; but still he does not yet hold by 
what the law given by Moses commanded. And therefore he who pays back just as much as 
he has received already forgives something: for the party who injures does not deserve merely 
as much punishment as the man who was injured by him has innocently suffered. And ac- 
cordingly this incomplete, by no means severe, but [rather] merciful justice, is carried to 
perfection by Him who came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it. Hence there are still two in- 
tervening steps which He has left to be understood, while He has chosen rather to speak of 


167 Adversus malum; Vulgate, malo. 

168 Vestimentum; Vulgate, pallium. 

169 Omni petenti te, da; Vulgate, qui petit a te, etc. 


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the very highest development of mercy. For there is still what one may do who does not 
come fully up to that magnitude of the precept which belongs to the kingdom of heaven; 
acting in such a way that he does not pay back as much, but less; as, for instance, one blow 
instead of two, or that he cuts off an ear for an eye that has been plucked out. He who, rising 
above this, pays back nothing at all, approaches the Lord’s precept, but yet he does not reach 
it. For still it seems to the Lord not enough, if, for the evil which you may have received, 
you should inflict no evil in return, unless you be prepared to receive even more. And 
therefore He does not say, “But I say unto you,” that you are not to return evil for evil; al- 
though even this would be a great precept: but He says, “that ye resist not evil;” so that 
not only are you not to pay back what may have been inflicted on you, but you are not even 
to resist other inflictions. For this is what He also goes on to explain: “But whosoever shall 
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also:” for He does not say, If any man 
smite thee, do not wish to smite him; but, Offer thyself further to him if he should go on to 
smite thee. As regards compassion, they feel it most who minister to those whom they greatly 
love as if they were their children, or some very dear friends in sickness, or little children, 
or insane persons, at whose hands they often endure many things; and if their welfare demand 
it, they even show themselves ready to endure more, until the weakness either of age or of 
disease pass away. And so, as regards those whom the Lord, the Physician of souls, was in- 
structing to take care of their neighbours, what else could He teach them, than that they 
endure quietly the infirmities of those whose welfare they wish to consult? For all wickedness 
arises from infirmity of mind: because nothing is more harmless than the man who is 
perfect in virtue. 

58. But it may be asked what the right cheek means. For this is the reading we find in 
the Greek copies, which are most worthy of confidence; though many Latin ones have only 
the word “cheek,” without the addition of “right.” Now the face is that by which any one is 
recognised; and we read in the apostle’s writings, “For ye suffer, if a man bring you into 
bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite 
you on the face:” then immediately he adds, “I speak as concerning reproach;” so that he 
explains what striking on the face is, viz. to be contemned and despised. Nor is this indeed 
said by the apostle for this reason, that they should not bear with those parties; but that they 


170 With Augustin, Calvin, Tholuck, Ewald, Lange construe this as neuter, evil; Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
the devil; De Wette, Meyer, Alford, Plumptre, as also the Revised Version, the man who does evil. Renan says 
the practice of this doctrine put down slavery: “It was not Spartacus who suppressed slavery, but rather was it 
Blandina” (“Ce n’estpas Spartacus qui a supprime Vesclavage, c’est bien plutot Blandine”). 

171 Imbecillitate. 

172 Toleratis; Vulgate, sustinetis. 

173 2 Cor. xi. 20, 21. 


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should bear with himself rather, who so loved them, that he was willing that he himself 
should be spent for them . 174 But since the face cannot be called right and left, and yet there 
may be a worth according to the estimate of God and according to the estimate of this world, 
it is so distributed as it were into the right and left cheek that whatever disciple of Christ 
might have to bear reproach for being a Christian, he should be much more ready to bear 
reproach in himself, if he possesses any of the honours of this world. Thus this same apostle, 
if he had kept silence respecting the dignity which he had in the world, when men were 
persecuting in him the Christian name, would not have presented the other cheek to those 

1 '7C 

that were smiting the right one. For when he said, I am a Roman citizen, he was not un- 
prepared to submit to be despised, in that which he reckoned as least, by those who had 
despised in him so precious and life-giving a name. For did he at all the less on that account 
afterwards submit to the chains, which it was not lawful to put on Roman citizens, or did 
he wish to accuse any one of this injury? And if any spared him on account of the name of 
Roman citizenship, yet he did not on that account refrain from offering an object they might 
strike at, since he wished by his patience to cure of so great perversity those whom he saw 
honouring in him what belonged to the left members rather than the right. For that point 
only is to be attended to, in what spirit he did everything, how benevolently and mildly he 
acted toward those from whom he was suffering such things. For when he was smitten with 
the hand by order of the high priest, what he seemed to say contumeliously when he affirms, 
“God shall smite thee, thou whited wall,” sounds like an insult to those who do not under- 
stand it; but to those who do, it is a prophecy. For a whited wall is hypocrisy, i.e. pretence 
holding forth the sacerdotal dignity before itself, and under this name, as under a white 
covering, concealing an inner and as it were sordid baseness. For what belonged to humility 

1 Hf. 

he wonderfully preserved, when, on its being said to him, “Revilest thou the high priest?” 
he replied, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shall not 
speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” And here he showed with what calmness he had 
spoken that which he seemed to have spoken in anger, because he answered so quickly and 
so mildly, which cannot be done by those who are indignant and thrown into confusion. 
And in that very statement he spoke the truth to those who understood him, “I wist not that 
he was the high priest:” as if he said, I know another High Priest, for whose name I bear 

such things, whom it is not lawful to revile, and whom ye revile, since in me it is nothing 


174 2 Cor. xii. 15. 

175 Acts xxii. 25. 

176 Principi sacerdotum; Vulgate, summum sacerdotem. 

177 Acts xxiii. 3-5. 

178 Interpreted by modern commentators usually of temporary forgetfulness, or, what is much better, failure 
to recognise through infirmity of vision. 


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else but His name that ye hate. Thus, therefore, it is necessary for one not to boast of such 
things in a hypocritical way, but to be prepared in the heart itself for all things, so that he 
can sing that prophetic word, My heart is prepared, O God, my heart is prepared. ’ For 
many have learned how to offer the other cheek, but do not know how to love him by whom 
they are struck. But in truth, the Lord Himself, who certainly was the first to fulfil the precepts 
which He taught, did not offer the other cheek to the servant of the high priest when smiting 

1 RO 

Him thereon; but, so far from that, said, “If I have spoken evil, hear witness of the evil; 

lOl 

but if well, why smitest thou me?” Yet was He not on that account unprepared in heart, 
for the salvation of all, not merely to be smitten on the other cheek, but even to have His 
whole body crucified. 

59. Hence also what follows, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away 
thy coat, let him have thy cloak also,” is rightly understood as a precept having reference 
to the preparation of heart, not to a vain show of outward deed. But what is said with respect 
to the coat and cloak is to be carried out not merely in such things, but in the case of 
everything which on any ground of right we speak of as being ours for time. For if this 
command is given with respect to what is necessary, how much more does it become us to 
contemn what is superfluous! But still, those things which I have called ours are to be included 
in that category under which the Lord Himself gives the precept, when He says, “If any man 
will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat.” Let all these things therefore be understood 
for which we may be sued at the law, so that the right to them may pass from us to him who 
sues, or for whom he sues; such, for instance, as clothing, a house, an estate, a beast of burden, 
and in general all kinds of property. But whether it is to be understood of slaves also is a 
great question. For a Christian ought not to possess a slave in the same way as a horse or 
money: although it may happen that a horse is valued at a greater price than a slave, and 
some article of gold or silver at much more. But with respect to that slave, if he is being 
educated and ruled by time as his master, in a way more upright, and more honourable, 
and more conducing to the fear of God, than can be done by him who desires to take him 
away, I do not know whether any one would dare to say that he ought to be despised like a 
garment. For a man ought to love a fellow-man as himself, inasmuch as he is commanded 
by the Lord of all (as is shown by what follows) even to love his enemies. 


179 English version, “fixed” — Ps. lvii. 7. 

180 Exprobra de malo; Vulgate, testimonium perhibe de malo. 

181 John xviii. 23. 

182 The coat or tunic was the under-garment. The cloak, or pallium, was the outer-garment, and the more 
precious. 


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1 8 ^ 1 84 

60. It is carefully to be observed that every tunic is a garment, but that every gar- 
ment is not a tunic. Hence the word garment means more than the word tunic. And therefore 
I think it is so expressed, “And if any one will sue thee at the law, and take away thy tunic, 
let him have thy garment also,” as if He had said, Whoever wishes to take away thy tunic, 
give over to him whatever other clothing thou hast. And so some have interpreted the word 
pallium, which in the Greek as used here is ipdnov. 

61. “And whosoever,” says He, “shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him other 
two.” And this, certainly, not so much in the sense that thou shouldest do it on foot, as that 
thou shouldest be prepared in mind to do it. For in the Christian history itself, which is au- 
thoritative, you will find no such thing done by the saints, or by the Lord Himself when in 
His human nature, which He condescended to assume, He was showing us an example of 
how to live; while at the same time, in almost all places, you will find them prepared to bear 
with equanimity whatever may have been wickedly forced upon them. But are we to suppose 
it is said for the sake of the mere expression, “Go with him other two;” or did He rather wish 
that three should be completed, — the number which has the meaning of perfection; so that 
every one should remember when he does this, that he is fulfilling perfect righteousness by 
compassionately bearing the infirmities of those whom he wishes to be made whole? It may 
seem for this reason also that He has recommended these precepts by three examples: of 
which the first is, if any one shall smite thee on the cheek; the second, if any one shall wish 
to take away thy coat; the third, if any one shall compel thee to go a mile: in which third 
example twice as much is added to the original unit, so that in this way the triplet is com- 
pleted. And if this number in the passage before us does not, as has been said, mean perfec- 
tion, let this be understood, that in laying down His precepts, as it were beginning with what 
is more tolerable, He has gradually gone on, until He has reached as far as the enduring of 
twice as much more. For, in the first place, He wished the other cheek to be presented when 
the right had been smitten, so that you may be prepared to bear less than you have borne. 
For whatever the right means, it is at least something more dear than that which is meant 
by the left; and if one who has borne with something in what is more dear, bears with it in 
what is less dear, it is something less. Then, secondly, in the case of one who wishes to take 
away a coat, He enjoins that the garment also should be given up to him: which is either 
just as much, or not much more; not, however, twice as much. In the third place, with respect 
to the mile, to which He says that two miles are to be added, He enjoins that you should 
bear with even twice as much more: thus signifying that whether it be somewhat less than 


183 English version, “coat.” 

184 English version, “cloak.” 

185 The Greek word ayyapeuw is derived from the Persian, to press one into service, as a courier to bear 
despatches. (See Thayer, Lexicon.) 


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the original demand, or just as much, or more, that any wicked man shall wish to take from 
thee, it is to be borne with tranquil mind. 


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Chapter XX. 

62. And, indeed, in these three classes of examples, I see that no class of injury is passed 

over. For all matters in which we suffer any injustice are divided into two classes: of which 

the one is, where restitution cannot be made; the other, where it can. But in that case where 
restitution cannot be made, a compensation in revenge is usually sought. For what does it 
profit, that on being struck you strike in return? Is that part of the body which was injured 
for that reason restored to its original condition? But an excited mind desires such allevi- 
ations. Things of that sort, however, afford no pleasure to a healthy and firm one; nay, such 
an one judges rather that the other’s infirmity is to be compassionately borne with, than 
that his own (which has no existence) should be soothed by the punishment of another. 

i on 

63. Nor are we thus precluded from inflicting such punishment [requital] as avails 
for correction, and as compassion itself dictates; nor does it stand in the way of that course 
proposed, where one is prepared to endure more at the hand of him whom he wishes to set 
right. But no one is fit for inflicting this punishment except the man who, by the greatness 
of his love, has overcome that hatred wherewith those are wont to be inflamed who wish to 
avenge themselves. For it is not to be feared that parents would seem to hate a little son 
when, on committing an offence, he is beaten by them that he may not go on offending. 
And certainly the perfection of love is set before us by the imitation of God the Father 
Himself when it is said in what follows: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, 
and pray for them which persecute you;” and yet it is said of Him by the prophet, “For 

i 89 

whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; yea, He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” 
The Lord also says, “The servant that knows not 190 his Lord’s will, and does things worthy 
of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; but the servant that knows his Lord’s will, and 
does things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with many stripes.” 191 No more, therefore, is 
sought for, except that he should punish to whom, in the natural order of things, the power 
is given; and that he should punish with the same goodwill which a father has towards his 
little son, whom by reason of his youth he cannot yet hate. For from this source the most 
suitable example is drawn, in order that it may be sufficiently manifest that sin can be pun- 
ished in love rather than be left unpunished; so that one may wish him on whom he inflicts 
it not to be miserable by means of punishment, but to be happy by means of correction, yet 


186 Exemplum citatur injuries privatce, forensis, curialis (Bengel). 

187 Vindicta. 

188 Pro eis qui vos persequuntur, Vulgate, pro persequentibus. 

189 Prov. iii. 12. So the LXX. English version: “even as a father the son in whom he delighteth,” following 
the Hebrew. 


190 Nescit ; Vulgate, non cognovit. 

191 Luke xii. 48, 47. 


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Chapter XX 


be prepared, if need be, to endure with equanimity more injuries inflicted by him whom he 
wishes to be corrected, whether he may have the power of putting restraint upon him or 
not. 

64. But great and holy men, although they at the time knew excellently well that that 
death which separates the soul from the body is not to be dreaded, yet, in accordance with 
the sentiment of those who might fear it, punished some sins with death, both because the 
living were struck with a salutary fear, and because it was not death itself that would injure 
those who were being punished with death, but sin, which might be increased if they con- 
tinued to live. They did not judge rashly on whom God had bestowed such a power of 
judging. Hence it is that Elijah inflicted death on many, both with his own hand and by 
calling down fire from heaven; as was done also without rashness by many other great 
and godlike men, in the same spirit of concern for the good of humanity. And when the 
disciples had quoted an example from this Elias, mentioning to the Lord what had been 
done by him, in order that He might give to themselves also the power of calling down fire 
from heaven to consume those who would not show Him hospitality, the Lord reproved in 
them, not the example of the holy prophet, but their ignorance in respect to taking vengeance, 
their knowledge being as yet elementary; 194 perceiving that they did not in love desire cor- 
rection, but in hated desired revenge. Accordingly, after He had taught them what it was to 
love one’s neighbour as oneself, and when the Holy Spirit had been poured out, whom, at 
the end of ten days after His ascension, He sent from above, as He had promised, 195 there 
were not wanting such acts of vengeance, although much more rarely than in the Old Test- 
ament. For there, for the most part, as servants they were kept down by fear; but here mostly 
as free they were nourished by love. For at the words of the Apostle Peter also, Ananias and 
his wife, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, fell down dead, and were not raised to life 
again, but buried. 

65. But if the heretics who are opposed to the Old Testament 196 will not credit this book, 
let them contemplate the Apostle Paul, whose writings they read along with us, saying with 
respect to a certain sinner whom he delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, 
“that the spirit may be saved.” And if they will not here understand death (for perhaps 
it is uncertain), let them acknowledge that punishment [requital] of some kind or other was 
inflicted by the apostle through the instrumentality of Satan; and that he did this not in 


192 

1 Kings xviii. 40. 

193 

2 Kings i. 10. 

194 

Luke ix. 52-56. 

195 

Acts ii. 1-4. 

196 

i.e.. The Manicheans. 

197 

1 Cor. v. 5. 


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hatred, but in love, is made plain by that addition, “that the spirit may be saved.” Or let them 
notice what we say in those books to which they themselves attribute great authority, where 
it is written that the Apostle Thomas imprecated on a certain man, by whom he had been 
struck with the palm of the hand, the punishment of death in a very cruel form, while yet 
commending his soul to God, that it might be spared in the world to come, — whose hand, 
torn from the rest of his body after he had been killed by a lion, a dog brought to the table 
at which the apostle was feasting. It is allowable for us not to credit this writing, for it is not 
in the catholic canon; yet they both read it, and honour it as being thoroughly uncorrupted 
and thoroughly truthful, who rage very fiercely (with I know not what blindness) against 
the corporeal punishments which are in the Old Testament, being altogether ignorant in 
what spirit and at what stage in the orderly distribution of times they were inflicted. 

66. Hence, in this class of injuries which is atoned for by punishment, such a measure 
will be preserved by Christians, that, on an injury being received, the mind will not mount 
up into hatred, but will be ready, in compassion for the infirmity, to endure even more; nor 
will it neglect the correction, which it can employ either by advice, or by authority, or by 
[the exercise of] power. There is another class of injuries, where complete restitution is 
possible, of which there are two species: the one referring to money, the other to labour. 
And therefore examples are subjoined: of the former in the case of the coat and cloak, of 
the latter in the case of the compulsory service of one and two miles; for a garment may be 
given back, and he whom you have assisted by labour may also assist you, if it should be 
necessary. Unless, perhaps, the distinction should rather be drawn in this way: that the first 
case which is supposed, in reference to the cheek being struck, means all injuries that are 
inflicted by the wicked in such a way that restitution cannot be made except by punishment; 
and that the second case which is supposed, in reference to the garment, means all injuries 
where restitution can be made without punishment; and therefore, perhaps, it is added, “if 
any man will sue thee at the law,” because what is taken away by means of a judicial sentence 
is not supposed to be taken away with such a degree of violence as that punishment is due; 
but that the third case is composed of both, so that restitution may be made both without 
punishment and with it. For the man who violently exacts labour to which he has no claim, 
without any judicial process, as he does who wickedly compels a man to go with him, and 
forces in an unlawful way assistance to be rendered to himself by one who is unwilling, is 
able both to pay the penalty of his wickedness and to repay the labour, if he who endured 
the wrong should ask it again. In all these classes of injuries, therefore, the Lord teaches that 
the disposition of a Christian ought to be most patient and compassionate, and thoroughly 
prepared to endure more. 

67. But since it is a small matter merely to abstain from injuring, unless you also confer 
a benefit as far as you can, He therefore goes on to say, “Give to every one that asketh thee, 
and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” “To every one that asketh,” 


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says He; not, Everything to him that asketh: so that you are to give that which you can 
honestly and justly give. For what if he should ask money, wherewith he may endeavour to 
oppress an innocent man? what if, in short, he should ask something unchaste? But not 
to recount many examples, which are in fact innumerable, that certainly is to be given which 
may hurt neither thyself nor the other party, as far as can be known or supposed by man; 
and in the case of him to whom you have justly denied what he asks, justice itself is to be 
made known, so that you may not send him away empty. Thus you will give to every one 
that asketh you, although you will not always give what he asks; and you will sometimes 
give something better, when you have set him right who was making unjust requests. 

68. Then, as to what He says, “From him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away,” 
it is to be referred to the mind; for God loveth a cheerful giver. 199 Moreover, every one who 
accepts anything borrows, even if he himself is not going to pay it; for inasmuch as God 
pays back more to the merciful, whosoever does a kindness lends at interest. Or if it does 
not seem good to understand the borrower in any other sense than of him who accepts of 
anything with the intention of repaying it, we must understand the Ford to have included 
those two methods of doing a favour. For we either give in a present what we give in the 
exercise of benevolence, or we lend to one who will repay us. And frequently men who, 
setting before them the divine reward, are prepared to give away in a present, become slow 
to give what is asked in loan, as if they were destined to get nothing in return from God, 
inasmuch as he who receives pays back the thing which is given him. Rightly, therefore, 
does the divine authority exhort us to this mode of bestowing a favour, saying, “And from 
him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away:” i.e., do not alienate your goodwill from 
him who asks it, both because your money will be useless, and because God will not pay 
you back, inasmuch as the man has done so; but when you do that from a regard to God’s 
precept, it cannot be unfruitful with Him who gives these commands. 200 


198 “To give everything to every one — the sword to the madman, the alms to the impostor, the criminal request 
to the temptress — would be to act as the enemy of others and ourselves” (Alford). Paul’s willingness to spend 
and be spent illustrates a proper conformity to the precept. 

199 2 Cor. ix. 7. 

200 This section, which concerns the law of retaliation, grew out of a rule of every-day life which the Pharisees 
constructed upon a principle of judicature laid down, Exod. xxi. 24 (Tholuck). The spirit, not the exact letter, 
of the illustrations is to be observed, and, when the spirit of the precept would demand it, the exact letter. 
Christians are taught to bear witness by enduring, yielding, and giving. “Sin is to be conquered by being made 
to feel the power of goodness.” Christ gave a good example at His trial, without following the letter of His precept 
here; and Paul followed Him (1 Cor. iv. 12, 13). 


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Chapter XXI 


Chapter XXI. 

69. In the next place, He goes on to say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, do 
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you; that ye may be the 

909 

children of your Father which is in heaven: for He commandeth His sun to rise on the 
evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them 
which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute 
your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the Gentiles the very same? 204 
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” For without this 
love, wherewith we are commanded to love even our enemies and persecutors, who can 
fully carry out those things which are mentioned above? Moreover, the perfection of that 
mercy, wherewith most of all the soul that is in distress is cared for, cannot be stretched 
beyond the love of an enemy; and therefore the closing words are: “Be ye therefore perfect, 
even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Yet in such a way that God is understood 
to be perfect as God, and the soul to be perfect as a soul. 

70. That there is, however, a certain step [in advance] in the righteousness of the Phar- 

isees, which belongs to the old law, is perceived from this consideration, that many men 
hate even those by whom they are loved; as, for instance, luxurious children hate their parents 
for restraining them in their luxury. That man therefore rises a certain step, who loves his 
neighbour, although as yet he hates his enemy. But in the kingdom of Him who came to 
fulfil the law, not to destroy it, he will bring benevolence and kindness to perfection, when 
he has carried it out so far as to love an enemy. For the former stage, although it is something, 
is yet so little that it may be reached even by the publicans as well. And as to what is said in 
the law, “Thou shalt hate thine enemy,” it is not to be understood as the voice of command 

addressed to a righteous man, but rather as the voice of permission to a weak man. 

— IX 

30 


201 Augustin, with the best Greek text, omits et calumniantibus vos (“anddespitefullyuseyou”) of the Vulgate. 

202 Jubet ; Vulgate, facit (with the Greek). 

203 Dilexeritis ; Vulgate, diligitis. 

204 Hoc ipsum; Vulgate, hoc; Greek, ro auro. 

205 Qui est in ccelis; Vulgate, coelestis (see Revised Version). 

206 The first part of the Lord’s quotation is found in Lev. xix. 18; these words, whatever may be said about 
the sanction, real or apparent, of revenge and triumph over an enemy’s fall in the Old Testament, are not found 
there. Bengel well says “ pessima glossa” (“wretched gloss”), — a gloss of the Pharisees, “bearing plainly enough 
the character of post-exilic Judaism in its exclusiveness toward all surrounding nations” (Weiss). Centuries after 
Christ spoke these words, Maimonides gives utterance to this narrow feeling of hate: “If a Jew see a Gentile fall 


75 


Chapter XXI 


71. Here indeed arises a question in no way to be blinked, that to this precept of the 
Lord, wherein He exhorts us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us, and 
to pray for those who persecute us, many other parts of Scripture seem to those who consider 
them less diligently and soberly to stand opposed; for in the prophets there are found many 
imprecations against enemies, which are thought to be curses: as, for instance, that one, “Let 
their table become a snare,” and the other things which are said there; and that one, “Let 

ono 

his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow,” and the other statements which are 
made either before or afterwards in the same Psalm by the prophet, as bearing on the case 
of Judas. Many other statements are found in all parts of Scripture, which may seem contrary 
both to this precept of the Lord, and to that apostolic one, where it is said, “Bless; and curse 
not;” 209 while it is both written of the Lord, that He cursed the cities which received not His 
word; and the above-mentioned apostle thus spoke respecting a certain man, “The Lord 

911 

will reward him according to his works.” 

72. But these difficulties are easily solved, for the prophet predicted by means of imprec- 
ation what was about to happen, not as praying for what he wished, but in the spirit of one 
who saw it beforehand. So also the Lord, so also the apostle; although even in the words of 
these we do not find what they have wished, but what they have foretold. For when the Lord 
says, “Woe unto thee, Capernaum,” He does not utter anything else than that some evil will 
happen to her as a punishment of her unbelief; and that this would happen the Lord did 
not malevolently wish, but saw by means of His divinity. And the apostle does not say, May 
[the Lord] reward; but, “The Lord will reward him according to his work;” which is the 


into the sea, let him by no means take him out; for it is written, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour’s blood,’ but this 
is not thy neighbour.” The separation of the Jews, demanded by their theocratic position, was the explanation 
in part — not an excuse — for such feeling towards people of other nationalities. Heathen peoples had the same 
feeling towards enemies. “It was the celebrated felicity of Sulla; and this was the crown of Xenophon’s panegyric 
of Cyrus the Younger, that no one had done more good to his friends or more mischief to his enemies.” Plautus 
said, “Man is a wolf to the stranger” (“ homo homini ignoto lupus est”). The term “stranger” in Greek means 
“enemy.” But common as this philosophy was to the pre-Christian world, the Jew was specially known for his 
hatred of all not of his own nationality (Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 104, etc.). The “enemy” referred to in the passage is 
not a national enemy ( Keim) but a personal one (Weiss, Meyer, etc.). Our Lord subsequently defined who was 
to be understood by the term “neighbour” in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke x. 36). 

207 Ps. lxix. 22. 

208 Ps. cix. 9. 

209 Rom. xii. 14. 

210 Matt xi. 20-24 and Luke x. 13-15. 

211 2 Tim. iv. 14. Augustin here again follows the better text than the Textus Receptus; so also Vulgate, reddet. 


See Revised Version. 


76 


Chapter XXI 


word of one who foretells, not of one uttering an imprecation. Just as also, in regard to that 
hypocrisy of the Jews of which we have already spoken, whose destruction he saw to be 
impending, he said, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall.’ “ But the prophets especially 
are accustomed to predict future events under the figure of one uttering an imprecation, 
just as they have often foretold those things which were to come under the figure of past 
time: as is the case, for example, in that passage, “Why have the nations raged, and the 
peoples imagined vain things?” For he has not said, Why will the heathen rage, and the 
people imagine vain things? although he was not mentioning those things as if they were 
already past, but was looking forward to them as yet to come. Such also is that passage, 
“They have parted my garments among them, and have cast lots upon my vesture :” 214 for 
here also he has not said, They will part my garments among them, and will cast lots upon 
my vesture. And yet no one finds fault with these words, except the man who does not per- 
ceive that variety of figures in speaking in no degree lessens the truth of facts, and adds very 
much to the impressions on our minds. 


212 See above chap. xix. 58. 

213 Ps. ii. 1. The English version employs the present tense. 

214 Ps. xxii. 18. 


77 


Chapter XXII 


Chapter XXII. 

73. But the question before us is rendered more urgent by what the Apostle John says: 
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and the Lord shall 
give him life for him who sinneth not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say 

oic 

that he shall pray for it.” For he manifestly shows that there are certain brethren for whom 

we are not commanded to pray, although the Lord bids us pray even for our persecutors. 
Nor can the question in hand be solved, unless we acknowledge that there are certain sins 
in brethren which are more heinous than the persecution of enemies. Moreover, that brethren 
mean Christians can be proved by many examples from the divine Scriptures. Yet that one 
is plainest which the apostle thus states: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the 

oi/r 

wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother.” For he has not added the word 

our, but has thought it plain, as he wished a Christian who had an unbelieving wife to be 

understood by the expression brother. And therefore he says a little after, “But if the unbe- 

217 

lieving depart, let him depart: a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. 
Hence I am of opinion that the sin of a brother is unto death, when any one, after coming 
to the knowledge of God through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, makes an assault on 
the brotherhood, and is impelled by the fires of envy to oppose that grace itself by which he 
is reconciled to God. But the sin is not unto death, if any one has not withdrawn his love 
from a brother, but through some infirmity of disposition has failed to perform the incumbent 
duties of brotherhood. And on this account our Lord also on the cross says, “Father, for- 
give them; for they know not what they do:” for, not yet having become partakers of 
the grace of the Holy Spirit, they had not yet entered the fellowship of the holy brotherhood. 
And the blessed Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles prays for those by whom he is being 
stoned, because they had not yet believed on Christ, and were not fighting against that 
common grace. And the Apostle Paul on this account, I believe, does not pray for Alexander, 
because he was already a brother, and had sinned unto death, viz. by making an assault on 
the brotherhood through envy. But for those who had not broken off their love, but had 
given way through fear, he prays that they may be pardoned. For thus he expresses it: “Al- 
exander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works. 
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” Then he adds for 


215 1 John v. 16. 

216 See note p. 

217 1 Cor. vii. 14, 15. 

218 Ignosce; Vulgate, dimitte. 

219 Luke xxiii. 34. 

220 Acts vii. 60. 

221 Sermonibus ; Vulgate, verbis. 


78 


Chapter XXII 


whom he prays, thus expressing it: “At my first defence no man stood with me, but all men 

999 

forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” 

74. It is this difference in their sins which separates Judas the betrayer from Peter the 
denier: not that a penitent is not to be pardoned, for we must not come into collision with 
that declaration of our Lord, where He enjoins that a brother is to be pardoned, when he 
asks his brother to pardon him; but that the ruin connected with that sin is so great, that 
he cannot endure the humiliation of asking for it, even if he should be compelled by a bad 
conscience both to acknowledge and divulge his sin. For when Judas had said, “I have sinned, 
in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” yet it was easier for him in despair to run and 
hang himself, than in humility to ask for pardon. And therefore it is of much consequence 
to know what sort of repentance God pardons. For many much more readily confess that 
they have sinned, and are so angry with themselves that they vehemently wish they had not 
sinned; but yet they do not condescend to humble the heart and to make it contrite, and to 
implore pardon: and this disposition of mind we must suppose them to have, as feeling 
themselves already condemned because of the greatness of their sin. 

75. And this is perhaps the sin against the Holy Ghost, i.e. through malice and envy to 

act in opposition to brotherly love after receiving the grace of the Holy Ghost, — a sin which 
our Lord says is not forgiven either in this world or in the world to come. And hence it may 
be asked whether the Jews sinned against the Holy Ghost, when they said that our Lord was 
casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils: whether we are to understand this 
as said against our Lord Himself, because He says of Himself in another passage, “If they 
have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His 
household!” or whether, inasmuch as they had spoken from great envy, being ungrateful 

for so manifest benefits, although they were not yet Christians, they are, from the very 
greatness of their envy, to be supposed to have sinned against the Holy Ghost? This latter 
is certainly not to be gathered from our Lord’s words. For although He has said in the same 
passage, “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; 
but whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither 
in this world, neither in the world to come;” yet it may seem that He admonished them for 
this purpose, that they should come to His grace, and after accepting of it should not so sin 
as they have now sinned. For now they have spoken a word against the Son of man, and it 
may be forgiven them, if they be converted, and believe on Him, and receive the Holy Ghost; 
but if, after receiving Him, they should choose to envy the brotherhood, and to assail the 


222 2 Tim. iv. 14-16. 

223 Matt, xviii. 21. Luke xvii. 3. 

224 Matt, xxvii. 4, 5. 

Matt. x. 25. 


225 


79 


Chapter XXII 


grace they have received, it cannot be forgiven them, neither in this world nor in the world 
to come. For if He reckoned them so condemned, that there was no hope left for them, He 
would not judge that they ought still to be admonished, as He did by adding the statement, 
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit 
corrupt.” 226 

76. Let it be understood, therefore, that we are to love our enemies, and to do good to 
those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us, in such a way, that it is at the 
same time understood that there are certain sins of brethren for which we are not commanded 
to pray; lest, through unskilfulness on our part, divine Scripture should seem to contradict 
itself (a thing which cannot happen). But whether, as we are not to pray for certain parties, 
so we are also to pray against some, has not yet become sufficiently evident. For it is said in 
general, “Bless, and curse not;” and again, “Recompense to no man evil for evil.” Moreover, 
while you do not pray for one, you do not therefore pray against him: for you may see that 
his punishment is certain, and his salvation altogether hopeless; and you do not pray for 
him, not because you hate him, but because you feel you can profit him nothing, and you 
do not wish your prayer to be rejected by the most righteous Judge. But what are we to think 
respecting those parties against whom we have it revealed that prayers were offered by the 
saints, not that they might be turned from their error (for in this way prayer is offered rather 
for them), but that final condemnation might come upon them: not as it was offered against 
the betrayer of our Lord by the prophet; for that, as has been said, was a prediction of things 
to come, not a wish for punishment: nor as it was offered by the apostle against Alexander; 
for respecting that also enough has been already said: but as we read in the Apocalypse of 
John of the martyrs praying that they may be avenged; while the well-known first martyr 
prayed that those who stoned him should be pardoned. 

77. But we need not be moved by this circumstance. For who would venture to affirm, 
in regard to those white-robed saints, when they pleaded that they should be avenged, 
whether they pleaded against the men themselves or against the dominion of sin? For of itself 
it is a genuine avenging of the martyrs, and one full of righteousness and mercy, that the 
dominion of sin should be overthrown, under which dominion they were subjected to so 
great sufferings. And for its overthrow the apostle strives, saying, “Let not sin therefore reign 
in your mortal body.” But the dominion of sin is destroyed and overthrown, partly by 
the amendment of men, so that the flesh is brought under subjection to the spirit; partly by 
the condemnation of those who persevere in sin, so that they are righteously disposed of in 


226 Matt. xii. 24-33. 

227 Rom. xii. 14, 17. 

228 Rev. vi. 10. 


229 


Rom. vi. 12. 


80 


Chapter XXII 


such a way that they cannot be troublesome to the righteous who reign with Christ. Look 
at the Apostle Paul; does it not seem to you that he avenges the martyr Stephen in his own 
person, when he says: “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, 

o-jn 

and bring it into subjection”? For he was certainly laying prostrate, and weakening, and 
bringing into subjection, and regulating that principle in himself whence he had persecuted 
Stephen and the other Christians. Who then can demonstrate that the holy martyrs were 
not asking from the Lord such an avenging of themselves, when at the same time, in order 
to their being avenged, they might lawfully wish for the end of this world, in which they had 
endured such martyrdoms? And they who pray for this, on the one hand pray for their en- 
emies who are curable, and on the other hand do not pray against those who have chosen 
to be incurable: because God also, in punishing them, is not a malevolent Torturer, but a 
most righteous Disposer. Without any hesitation, therefore, let us love our enemies, let us 
do good to those that hate us, and let us pray for those who persecute us. 


230 1 Cor. ix. 26, 27. Sevituti subjicio-, Vulgate, in servitutem redigo. 


81 


Chapter XXIII 


Chapter XXIII. 

78. Then, as to the statement which follows, “that ye may be the children of your Father 
which is in heaven,” it is to be understood according to that rule in virtue of which John 
also says, “He gave them power to become the sons of God.” For one is a Son by nature, 
who knows nothing at all of sin; but we, by receiving power, are made sons, in as far as we 
perform those things which are commanded us by Him. And hence the apostolic teaching 
gives the name of adoption to that by which we are called to an eternal inheritance, that we 
may be joint-heirs with Christ. We are therefore made sons by a spiritual regeneration, 
and we are adopted into the kingdom of God, not as aliens, but as being made and created 
by Him: so that it is one benefit, His having brought us into being through His omnipotence, 
when before we were nothing; another, His having adopted us, so that, as being sons, we 
might enjoy along with Him eternal life for our participation. Therefore He does not say, 
Do those things, because ye are sons; but, Do those things, that ye may be sons. 

79. But when He calls us to this by the Only-begotten Himself, He calls us to His own 

likeness. For He, as is said in what follows, “maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on 
the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Whether you are to understand 
His sun as being not that which is visible to the fleshly eyes, but that wisdom of which it is 
said, “She is the brightness of the everlasting light;” of which it is also said, “The Sun of 
righteousness has arisen upon me;” and again, “But unto you that fear the name of the Lord 
shall the Sun of righteousness arise:” so that you would also understand the rain as being 

the watering with the doctrine of truth, because Christ hath appeared to the good and the 
evil, and is preached to the good and the evil. Or whether you choose rather to understand 
that sun which is set forth before the bodily eyes not only of men, but also of cattle; and that 
rain by which the fruits are brought forth, which have been given for the refreshment of the 
body, which I think is the more probable interpretation: so that that spiritual sun does not 
rise except on the good and holy; for it is this very thing which the wicked bewail in that 
book which is called the Wisdom of Solomon, “And the sun rose not upon us:” and that 
spiritual rain does not water any except the good; for the wicked were meant by the vineyard 


231 “Not in power or wisdom, — which was the cause of man’s fall, and leads evermore to the same, — but in 
love” (Plumptre). 

232 John i. 12. 

233 Rom viii. 17 and Gal. iv. 5. 

234 Facit(above, jubet). Bengel’s comment is good: “Magnified appellatio. Ipse et fecit solem et gubernat et 
habet in sua unius potestate” (“Splendid designation. He made the sun, governs it, and has it in His own power”). 

235 Wisd. vii. 26. 

236 Mai. iv. 2. 

237 Wisd. v. 6. 


82 


Chapter XXIII 


oo o 

of which it is said, “I will also command my clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” But 
whether you understand the one or the other, it takes place by the great goodness of God, 
which we are commanded to imitate, if we wish to be the children of God. For who is there 
so ungrateful as not to feel how great the comfort, so far as this life is concerned, which that 
visible light and the material rain bring? And this comfort we see bestowed in this life alike 
upon the righteous and upon sinners in common. But He does not say, “who maketh the 
sun to rise on the evil and on the good;” but He has added the word “His,” i.e. which He 
Himself made and established, and for the making of which He took nothing from any one, 
as it is written in Genesis respecting all the luminaries; and He can properly say that all 
the things which He has created out of nothing are His own: so that we are hence admonished 
with how great liberality we ought, according to His precept, to give to our enemies those 
things which we have not created, but have received from His gifts. 

80. But who can either be prepared to bear injuries from the weak, in as far as it is 
profitable for their salvation; and to choose rather to suffer more injustice from another 
than to repay what he has suffered; to give to every one that asketh anything from him, 
either what he asks, if it is in his possession, and if it can rightly be given, or good advice, 
or to manifest a benevolent disposition, and not to turn away from him who desires to 
borrow; to love his enemies, to do good to those who hate him, to pray for those who perse- 
cute him; — who, I say, does these things, but the man who is fully and perfectly merciful? 240 


238 Isa. v. 6. 

239 Gen. i. 16. 

240 “Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The Greek text has here the future: ea£a0£ 
teAeioi, “Ye therefore shall be perfect” (Revised Version). Meyer gives the verb the imperative sense; Alford, 
Lange, and others include the imperative sense. The imperative force adds not a little to the plausibility of deriving 
the doctrine of perfectibility on earth, or complete “sanctification,” from the passage, as the Pelagians (whom 
Augustin elsewhere combats) and some Methodist commentators (Whedon, etc.). Alford, Trench, etc., deny 
that the verse gives any countenance to the doctrine. As regards the nature of the perfection, Bengel sententiously 
says, “in amore, erga omnes ” (“in love, toward all.” See Col. iii. 14). It seems “to refer chiefly to the perfection of 
the divine love” (Mansel); so also Bleek, Meyer. Weiss (whose Leben Jesu, i. 532-534, see) finds an allusion to 
the fundamental command of the Old Testament, “Be ye holy,” etc. In the place of the divine holiness, or God’s 
elevation above all uncleanness of the creature, is substituted the divine perfection, whose essence is all-compre- 
hensive and unselfish love; and in the place of the God separated from the sinful people, appears He who in love 
condescends to them and brings them into likeness with Himself as His children. The last verse of the Sermon 
as reported by Luke (vi. 36) confirms the idea that the perfection is of love: “Be ye merciful, as your Father which 
is in heaven is merciful.” Commenting on this verse, Dr. Schaff says, “Instruction in morality cannot rise above 
this. Having thus led us up to our heavenly Father as the true standard, our Lord, by a natural transition, passes 
to our religious duties, i.e. duties to our heavenly Father.” 


83 


Chapter XXIII 


And with that counsel misery is avoided, by the assistance of Him who says, “I desire mercy, 
and not sacrifice .” 241 “Blessed,” therefore, “are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” 
But now I think it will be more convenient, that at this point the reader, fatigued with so 
long a volume, should breathe a little, and recruit himself for considering what remains in 
another book. 


241 Hos. vi. 6. 


84 


On the Latter Part of Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Contained in the Sixth... 


Book II. 


On the latter part of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, contained in the sixth and seventh 
chapters of Matthew. 



85 



Chapter I 


Chapter I. 

1. The subject of mercy, with the treatment of which the first book came to a close, is 
followed by that of the cleansing of the heart, with which the present one begins. The 
cleansing of the heart, then, is as it were the cleansing of the eye by which God is seen; and 
in keeping that single, there ought to be as great care as the dignity of the object demands, 
which can be beheld by such an eye. But even when this eye is in great part cleansed, it is 
difficult to prevent certain defilements from creeping insensibly over it, from those things 
which are wont to accompany even our good actions, — as, for instance, the praise of men. 
If, indeed, not to live uprightly is hurtful; yet to live uprightly, and not to wish to be praised, 
what else is this than to be an enemy to the affairs of men, which are certainly so much the 
more miserable, the less an upright life on the part of men gives pleasure? If, therefore, those 
among whom you live shall not praise you when living uprightly, they are in error: but if 
they shall praise you, you are in danger; unless you have a heart so single and pure, that in 
those things in which you act uprightly you do not so act because of the praises of men; and 
that you rather congratulate those who praise what is right, as having pleasure in what is 
good, than yourself; because you would live uprightly even if no one were to praise you: and 
that you understand this very praise of you to be useful to those who praise you, only when 
it is not yourself whom they honour in your good life, but God, whose most holy temple 
every man is who lives well; so that what David says finds its fulfilment, “In the Lord shall 
my soul be praised; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” ' It belongs therefore to 
the pure eye not to look at the praises of men in acting rightly, nor to have reference to these 
while you are acting rightly, i.e. to do anything rightly with the very design of pleasing men. 
For thus you will be disposed also to counterfeit what is good, if nothing is kept in view except 
the praise of man; who, inasmuch as he cannot see the heart, may also praise things that are 
false. And they who do this, i.e. who counterfeit goodness, are of a double heart. No one 
therefore has a single, i.e. a pure heart, except the man who rises above the praises of men; 
and when he lives well, looks at Him only, and strives to please Him who is the only 
Searcher of the conscience. And whatever proceeds from the purity of that conscience is so 
much the more praiseworthy, the less it desires the praises of men. 


242 Jesus passes from the precepts of the genuine righteousness to the actual practice of the same (Meyer, 
Weiss), from moral to religious duties (Lange), from actions to motives; having spoken to the heart before by 
inference, he now speaks directly (Alford). 

243 Ps. xxxiv. 2. 


86 


Chapter I 


2. “Take heed, 244 therefore,” says He, “that ye do not your righteousness 245 before men, 
to be seen of them:” i.e., take heed that ye do not live righteously with this intent, and that 
ye do not place your happiness in this, that men may see you. “Otherwise ye have no reward 
of your Father who is in heaven:” not if ye should be seen by men; but if ye should live 
righteously with the intent of being seen by men. For, [were it the former] , what would be- 
come of the statement made in the beginning of this sermon, “Ye are the light of the world. 
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a 
bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light 
so shine before men, that they may see your good works”? But He did not set up this as the 
end; for He has added, “and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” 246 But here, because he 
is finding fault with this, if the end of our right actions is there, i.e. if we act rightly with 
this design, only of being seen of men; after He has said, “Take heed that ye do not your 
righteousness before men,” He has added nothing. And hereby it is evident that He has said 
this, not to prevent us from acting rightly before men, but lest perchance we should act 
rightly before men for the purpose of being seen by them, i.e. should fix our eye on this, and 
make it the end of what we have set before us. 

947 

3. For the apostle also says, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ;” 

while he says in another place, “Please all men in all things, even as I also please all men in 
»248 

all things. ’ And they who do not understand this think it a contradiction; while the ex- 
planation is, that he has said he does not please men, because he was accustomed to act 
rightly, not with the express design of pleasing men, but of pleasing God, to the love of 
whom he wished to turn men’s hearts by that very thing in which he was pleasing men. 
Therefore he was both right in saying that he did not please men, because in that very thing 
he aimed at pleasing God: and right in authoritatively teaching that we ought to please men, 
not in order that this should be sought for as the reward of our good deeds; but because the 
man who would not offer himself for imitation to those whom he wished to be saved, could 
not please God; but no man possibly can imitate one who has not pleased him. As, therefore, 
that man would not speak absurdly who should say, In this work of seeking a ship, it is not 
a ship, but my native country, that I seek: so the apostle also might fitly say, In this work of 
pleasing men, it is not men, but God, that I please; because I do not aim at pleasing men, 


244 Cavete facere; Vulgate, attendite nefadatis. 

245 In agreement with the best Greek text. (See Revised Version.) This verse is a general proposition. The 
three leading manifestations of righteousness and practical piety among the Jews follow, — alms-giving, prayer, 
fasting. 

246 Matt. v. 14-16. 

247 Gal. i. 10. 

248 1 Cor. x. 32, 33. 


87 


Chapter I 


but have it as my object, that those whom I wish to be saved may imitate me. Just as he says 
of an offering that is made for the saints, “Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit;” 249 
i.e., In seeking your gift, I seek not it, but your fruit. For by this proof it could appear how 
far they had advanced Godward, when they offered that willingly which was sought from 
them not for the sake of his own joy over their gifts, but for the sake of the fellowship of 
love. 

4. Although when He also goes on to say, “Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father 
who is in heaven,” He points out nothing else but that we ought to be on our guard against 

seeking man’s praise as the reward of our deeds, i.e. against thinking we thereby attain to 
blessedness. 


249 Phil. iv. 17. 

250 Acts otherwise noble and praiseworthy become sin when done to make an appearance before men, and 
get honour from them. Bad intentions vitiate pious observances. 


88 


Chapter II 


Chapter II. 

5. “Therefore, when thou doest thine alms,” says He, “do not sound a trumpet before 
thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory 251 
of men.” Do not, says He, desire to become known in the same way as the hypocrites. Now 
it is manifest that hypocrites have not that in their heart also which they hold forth before 
the eyes of men. For hypocrites are pretenders, as it were setters forth of other characters, 
just as in the plays of the theatre. For he who acts the part of Agamemnon in tragedy, for 
example, or of any other person belonging to the history or legend which is acted, is not 
really the person himself, but personates him, and is called a hypocrite. In like manner, in 
the Church, or in any phase of human life, whoever wishes to seem what he is not is a hypo- 
crite. For he pretends, but does not show himself, to be a righteous man; because he places 
the whole fruit [of his acting] in the praise of men, which even pretenders may receive, while 
they deceive those to whom they seem good, and are praised by them. But such do not receive 
a reward from God the Searcher of the heart, unless it be the punishment of their deceit: 
from men, however, says He, “They have received their reward;” and most righteously will 
it be said to them, Depart from me, ye workers of deceit; ye had my name, but ye did not 
my works. Hence they have received their reward, who do their alms for no other reason 
than that they may have glory of men; not if they have glory of men, but if they do them for 
the express purpose of having this glory, as has been discussed above. For the praise of men 
ought not to be sought by him who acts rightly, but ought to follow him who acts rightly, 
so that they may profit who can also imitate what they praise, not that he whom they praise 
may think that they are profiting him anything. 

6. “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” 
If you should understand unbelievers to be meant by the left hand, then it will seem to be 
no fault to wish to please believers; while nevertheless we are altogether prohibited from 
placing the fruit and end of our good deed in the praise of any men whatever. But as regards 
this point, that those who have been pleased with your good deeds should imitate you, we 
are to act before the eyes not only of believers, but also of unbelievers, so that by our good 
works, which are to be praised, they may honour God, and may come to salvation. But if 
you should be of opinion that the left hand means an enemy, so that your enemy is not to 
know when you do alms, why did the Lord Himself, when His enemies the Jews were 
standing round, mercifully heal men? why did the Apostle Peter, by healing the lame man 
whom he pitied at the gate Beautiful, bring also the wrath of the enemy upon himself, and 


251 Glorificantur, Vulgate honorificentur. The sounding of trumpet is referred by some to an alleged custom 
of the parties themselves calling the poor together by a trumpet, or even to the noise of the coins on the trumpet- 
shaped chests in the temple. Better, it is figurative of “self-laudation and display” (Meyer, Alford, Lange, etc.). 

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9 £>9 

upon the other disciples of Christ?" Then, further, if it is necessary that the enemy should 
not know when we do our alms, how shall we do with the enemy himself so as to fulfil that 
precept, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him 
water to drink”? 253 

7. A third opinion is wont to be held by carnal people, so absurd and ridiculous, that I 
would not mention it had I not found that not a few are entangled in that error, who say 
that by the expression left hand a wife is meant; so that, inasmuch as in family affairs women 
are wont to be more tenacious of money, it is to be kept hid from them when their husbands 
compassionately spend anything upon the needy, for fear of domestic quarrels. As if, forsooth, 
men alone were Christians, and this precept were not addressed to women also! From what 
left hand, then, is a woman enjoined to conceal her deed of mercy? Is a husband also the 
left hand of his wife? A statement most absurd. Or if any one thinks that they are left hands 
to each other; if any part of the family property be expended by the one party in such a way 
as to be contrary to the will of the other party, such a marriage will not be a Christian one; 
but whichever of them should choose to do alms according to the command of God, 
whomsoever he should find opposed, would inevitably be an enemy to the command of 
God, and therefore reckoned among unbelievers, — the command with respect to such parties 
being, that a believing husband should win his wife, and a believing wife her husband, by 
their good conversation and conduct; and therefore they ought not to conceal their good 
works from each other, by which they are to be mutually attracted, so that the one may be 
able to attract the other to communion in the Christian faith. Nor are thefts to be perpetrated 
in order that God may be rendered propitious. But if anything is to be concealed as long as 
the infirmity of the other party is unable to bear with equanimity what nevertheless is not 
done unjustly and unlawfully; yet, that the left hand is not meant in such a sense on the 
present occasion, readily appears from a consideration of the whole section, whereby it will 
at the same time be discovered what He calls the left hand. 

8. “Take heed,” says He, “that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of 
them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Here He has men- 
tioned righteousness generally, then He follows it up in detail. For a deed which is done in 
the way of alms is a certain part of righteousness, and therefore He connects the two by 
saying, “Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the 
hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.” In this 
there is a reference to what He says before, “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness 
before men, to be seen of them.” But what follows, “Verily I say unto you, They have received 
their reward,” refers to that other statement which He has made above, “Otherwise ye have 



252 Acts iii., iv. 

253 Prov. xxv. 21. 


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no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Then follows, “But when thou doest alms.” 
When He says, “But thou,” what else does He mean but, Not in the same manner as they? 
What, then, does He bid me do? “But when thou doest alms,” says He, “let not thy left hand 
know what thy right hand doeth.” Hence those other parties so act, that their left hand 
knoweth what their right hand doeth. What, therefore, is blamed in them, this thou art 
forbidden to do. But this is what is blamed in them, that they act in such a way as to seek 
the praises of men. And therefore the left hand seems to have no more suitable meaning 
than just this delight in praise. But the right hand means the intention of fulfilling the divine 
commands. When, therefore, with the consciousness of him who does alms is mixed up the 
desire of man’s praise, the left hand becomes conscious of the work of the right hand: “Let 
not, therefore, thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;” 254 i.e. Let there not be mixed 
up in thy consciousness the desire of man’s praise, when in doing alms thou art striving to 
fulfil a divine command. 

■ICC 

9. “That thine alms may be in secret.” What else is meant by “in secret,” but just in 
a good conscience, which cannot be shown to human eyes, nor revealed by words? since, 
indeed, the mass of men tell many lies. And therefore, if the right hand acts inwardly in 
secret, all outward things, which are visible and temporal, belong to the left hand. Let thine 
alms, therefore, be in thine own consciousness, where many do alms by their good intention, 
even if they have no money or anything else which is to be bestowed on one who is needy. 
But many give alms outwardly, and not inwardly, who either from ambition, or for the sake 
of some temporal object, wish to appear merciful, in whom the left hand only is to be 
reckoned as working. Others again hold, as it were, a middle place between the two; so that, 
with a design which is directed Godward, they do their alms, and yet there insinuates itself 
into this excellent wish also some desire after praise, or after a perishable and temporal object 
of some sort or other. But our Lord much more strongly prohibits the left hand alone being 
at work in us, when He even forbids its being mixed up with the works of the right hand: 
that is to say, that we are not only to beware of doing alms from the desire of temporal objects 
alone; but that in this work we are not even to have regard to God in such a way as that there 
should be mingled up or united therewith the grasping after outward advantages. For the 
question under discussion is the cleansing of the heart, which, unless it be single, will not 
be clean. But how will it be single, if it serves two masters, and does not purge its vision by 


254 “With complete modesty; secret, noiseless giving” (Chrysostom). No reference to a counting of the money 
by the left hand (Paulus, De Wette). Luther’s comment is quaint and characteristic: “When thou givest alms 
with thy right hand, take heed that thou dost not seek with the left to take more, but put it behind thy back.” 
Trench pronounces this discussion concerning the meaning of the left hand “laborious, and, as I cannot but 
think, unnecessary;” but it is ingenious and interesting. 

255 Pii lucent et tamen latent (Bengel). 


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the striving after eternal things alone, but clouds it by the love of mortal and perishable 
things as well? “Let thine alms,” therefore, “be in secret; and thy 256 Father, who seeth in 
secret, shall reward thee.” Altogether most righteously and most truly. For if you expect a 
reward from Him who is the only Searcher of the conscience, let conscience itself suffice 
thee for meriting a reward. Many Latin copies have it thus, “And thy Father who seeth in 
secret shall reward thee openly;” but because we have not found the word “openly” in the 
Greek copies, which are earlier, we have not thought that anything was to be said about 
it. 


256 Not our Father. 

257 It is wanting in the Sinaitic, B, D, etc., mss., as also in the Vulgate copies. 


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Chapter III. 

10. “And when ye pray,” says He, “ye shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to 
pray standing" in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen 
of men.” And here also it is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things 
for the purpose of being seen of men; and it is superfluous to make the same remark so often, 
since there is just one rule to be kept, from which we learn that what we should dread and 
avoid is not that men know these things, but that they be done with this intent, that the fruit 
of pleasing men should be sought after in them. Our Lord Himself, too, preserves the same 
words, when He adds similarly, “Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward;” 
hereby showing that He forbids this, — the striving after that reward in which fools delight 
when they are praised by men. 

11. “But when ye pray,” says He, “enter into your bed-chambers.” What are those 
bed-chambers but just our hearts themselves, as is meant also in the Psalm, when it is said, 
“What ye say in your hearts, have remorse for even in your beds”? “And when ye have 
shut the doors,” says He, “pray to your Father who is in secret.” “ It is a small matter to 
enter into our bed-chambers if the door stand open to the unmannerly, through which the 
things that are outside profanely rush in and assail our inner man. Now we have said that 
outside are all temporal and visible things, which make their way through the door, i.e. 
through the fleshly sense into our thoughts, and clamorously interrupt those who are praying 
by a crowd of vain phantoms. Hence the door is to be shut, i.e. the fleshly sense is to be 
resisted, so that spiritual prayer may be directed to the Father, which is done in the inmost 
heart, where prayer is offered to the Father which is in secret. “And your Father,” says He, 
“who seeth in secret, shall reward you.” And this had to be wound up with a closing statement 
of such a kind; for here at the present stage the admonition is not that we should pray, but 
as to how we should pray. Nor is what goes before an admonition that we should give alms, 
but as to the spirit in which we should do so, inasmuch as He is giving instructions with 
regard to the cleansing of the heart, which nothing cleanses but the undivided and single- 
minded striving after eternal life from the pure love of wisdom alone. 


258 They love to stand praying, more than they love to pray. Like the Mohammedans of to-day, they took 
delight in airing their piety. Our Lord mentions the most conspicuous localities. The usual posture of the Jews 
in prayer was standing (1 Sam. i. 26, Lukexviii. 11, etc.). 

259 Vos ; Vulgate, tu (Revised Version). 

260 Ps. iv. 4. The English version renders, “Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” 

261 Claudentes ostia-, Vulgate, clauso ostio. 

262 Our Lord on occasion followed this habit (Matt. xiv. 23 and in Gethsemane). 


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12. “But when ye pray,” says He, “do not speak much, as the heathen do; for they 
think 264 that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” As it is characteristic of the hy- 
pocrites to exhibit themselves to be gazed at when praying, and their fruit is to please men, 
so it is characteristic of the heathen, i.e. of the Gentiles, to think they are heard for their 
much speaking. And in reality, every kind of much speaking comes from the Gentiles, who 
make it their endeavour to exercise the tongue rather than to cleanse the heart. And this 
kind of useless exertion they endeavour to transfer even to the influencing of God by prayer, 
supposing that the Judge, just like man, is brought over by words to a certain way of thinking. 
“Be not ye, therefore, like unto them,” says the only true Master. “For your Father knoweth 
what things are necessary 265 for you, before ye ask Him.” For if many words are made use 
of with the intent that one who is ignorant may be instructed and taught, what need is there 
of them for Him who knows all things, to whom all things which exist, by the very fact of 
their existence, speak, and show themselves as having been brought into existence; and those 
things which are future do not remain concealed from His knowledge and wisdom, in which 
both those things which are past, and those things which will yet come to pass, are all present 
and cannot pass away? 

13. But since, however few they may be, yet there are words which He Himself also is 
about to speak, by which He would teach us to pray; it may be asked why even these few 
words are necessary for Him who knows all things before they take place, and is acquainted, 
as has been said, with what is necessary for us before we ask Him? Here, in the first place, 
the answer is, that we ought to urge our case with God, in order to obtain what we wish, 
not by words, but by the ideas which we cherish in our mind, and by the direction of our 
thought, with pure love and sincere desire; but that our Lord has taught us the very ideas 
in words, that by committing them to memory we may recollect those ideas at the time we 
pray. 


263 Greek, (3arraA.0Y£W “Use not vain repetitions,” Revised Version (or stammer). Some derive the word 
from Battus, king of Cyrene, who stuttered, or from Battus, author of wordy poems. The word is probably only 
an imitation of the sound of the stammerer (Thayer, Lexicon , who spells (3arroAoY£w). The Jews were only doing 
as well as the Gentiles when they placed virtue in the length of the prayer, and no better. “Who makes his prayer 
long, shall not return home empty” (Rabbi Chasima, quoted by Hausrath, 73). The Rabbins took up at great 
length the question how many and what kind of petitions should be offered up at the table spread on different 
occasions with different viands, whether salutations should be acknowledged in the course of prayer, etc. (see 
Schiirer, pp. 498, 499). Examples of repetitious prayer in Scripture: 1 Kings xviii. 26, Acts xix. 34. The warning 
is not against frequent prayer (Luke xviii. 1). 

264 Arbitrantur, Vulgate, putant. 

265 Vobis necessarium; Vulgate, opus. 


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14. But again, it may be asked (whether we are to pray in ideas or in words) what need 
there is for prayer itself, if God already knows what is necessary for us; unless it be that the 
very effort involved in prayer calms and purifies our heart, and makes it more capacious 
for receiving the divine gifts, which are poured into us spiritually.” For it is not on account 
of the urgency of our prayers that God hears us, who is always ready to give us His light, 
not of a material kind, but that which is intellectual and spiritual: but we are not always 
ready to receive, since we are inclined towards other things, and are involved in darkness 
through our desire for temporal things. Hence there is brought about in prayer a turning 
of the heart to Him, who is ever ready to give, if we will but take what He has given; and in 
the very act of turning there is effected a purging of the inner eye, inasmuch as those things 
of a temporal kind which were desired are excluded, so that the vision of the pure heart may 
be able to bear the pure light, divinely shining, without any setting or change: and not only 
to bear it, but also to remain in it; not merely without annoyance, but also with ineffable 
joy, in which a life truly and sincerely blessed is perfected. 


266 The illustration is frequently used (M. Henry; after him F. W. Robertson), to represent the position of 
some, that prayer only has an influence on the petitioner, of a boatman in his boat, taking hold of the wharf 
with his grappling hook. While prayer does not “inform or persuade God,” it is the condition of receiving. The 
sanctifying influence is secondary and incidental. 


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Chapter IV. 

15. But now we have to consider what things we are taught to pray for by Him through 
whom we both learn what we are to pray for, and obtain what we pray for. “After this 

'yfn 

manner, therefore, pray ye,”" says He: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy 
name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day 
our daily 268 bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And bring 269 us not 
into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Seeing that in all prayer we have to conciliate 

267 Orate ; Vulgate, Orabitis. 

268 Quotidianum; Vulgate, supersubstantialem. 

269 Inferas (Rev. Vers.); Vulgate, inducas. 

270 This prayer is called the Lord’s Prayer because our Lord is its author, He did not and could not have used 
it Himself, on account of (1) the special meaning of the pronoun “our” in the address, (2) the confession of sins 
in the fifth petition. Luke’s account (xi. 1) agrees in the subject of the petitions as in the address, but differs (1) 
in the omission of the third petition (Crit text); (2) in the addition to the fifth petition (which, however, Matthew 
gives at the close of the prayer in a more elaborate form); (3) in adducing a request of the disciples as the occasion 
of the prayer. Some have thought the prayer was given on two occasions (Meyer in earlier edd., Tholuck). Others 
hold that Matthew has inserted it out of its proper historical place (Neander, Olshausen, De Wette, Ebrard, 
Meyer in ed. vi., Weiss, etc.). This question of priority and accuracy as between the forms of Matthew and Luke 
may be regarded as set at rest by the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles , which (viii. 2) gives the exact form of 
Matthew with three unimportant differences: viz. (1) heaven, oupavw, instead of heavens; (2) the omission of 
the article before earth; (3) debt instead of debts. This document contains the doxology (with the omission of 
kingdom), and supports the Textus Receptus in giving the present, we forgive, dcplepev, instead of the perfect, 
we have forgiven, dcpfjKOcpev. — The division of the prayer is usually made into (1) address, (2) petitions, (3) 
doxology (omitted from the approved critical Greek text and the Revised Version). — The petitions are seven 
according to Augustin, Luther, Bengel, Tholuck, etc: six (the two last being combined as one) according to 
Chrysostom, Reformed catechisms, Calvin, Schaff, etc. The petitions are divided into two groups (Tertullian) 
or tables (Calvin). — The contents of the first three petitions concern the glory of God; of the last four, the wants 
of men. In the first group the pronoun is thy, and the direction of the thought is from heaven downwards to 
earth; in the second group it is us, and the direction of the thought is from earth upwards to God. — The numbers, 
in view of their significance in the Old Testament, 3, 4, 7, are not an uninteresting item. Tholuck says: “The at- 
tention of the student who has otherwise heard of the doctrine of the Trinity will find a distinct reference to it 
in the arrangement of this prayer. In the first petition of each group, God is referred to as Creator and Preserver; 
in the second as Redeemer; in the third as the Holy Spirit.” — The Lord’s Prayer is more than a specimen of 
prayer: it is a pattern. Different views are held concerning its liturgical use, which can be traced back to Cyprian 
and Tertullian, and now farther still, to the Teaching of the Apostles, which, after giving the prayer, says, “Thrice 
a day pray thus.” It also gives (ix.) a form of prayer to be used after the Eucharist. Of its abuse Luther says, “It 
is the greatest martyr.” — It is not a compilation, although similar or the same, petitions may have been in use 


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the goodwill of him to whom we pray, then to say what we pray for; goodwill is usually 
conciliated by our offering praise to him to whom the prayer is directed, and this is usually 
put in the beginning of the prayer: and in this particular our Lord has bidden us say nothing 
else but “Our Father who art in heaven.” For many things are said in praise of God, which, 
being scattered variously and widely over all the Holy Scriptures, every one will be able to 
consider when he reads them: yet nowhere is there found a precept for the people of Israel, 
that they should say “Our Father,” or that they should pray to God as a Father; but as Lord 
He was made known to them, as being yet servants, i.e. still living according to the flesh. I 
say this, however, inasmuch as they received the commands of the law, which they were 
ordered to observe: for the prophets often show that this same Lord of ours might have been 
their Father also, if they had not strayed from His commandments: as, for instance, we have 
that statement, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against 
me;” and that other, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most 

979 

High;” and this again, “If then I be a Father, where is mine honour? and if I be a Master, 

where is my fear?” and very many other statements, where the Jews are accused of 
showing by their sin that they did not wish to become sons: those things being left out of 
account which are said in prophecy of a future Christian people, that they would have God 
as a Father, according to that gospel statement, “To them gave He power to become the sons 
of God.” The Apostle Paul, again, says, “The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing 

from a servant;” and mentions that we have received the Spirit of adoption, “whereby we 
cry, Abba, Father.” 275 

16. And since the fact that we are called to an eternal inheritance, that we might be fellow- 
heirs with Christ and attain to the adoption of sons, is not of our deserts, but of God’s grace; 
we put this very same grace in the beginning of our prayer, when we say “Our Father.” And 
by that appellation both love is stirred up — for what ought to be dearer to sons than a fath- 
er? — and a suppliant disposition, when men say to God, “Our Father:” and a certain pre- 
sumption of obtaining what we are about to ask; since, before we ask anything, we have re- 
ceived so great a gift as to be allowed to call God “Our Father.” For what would He not 
now give to sons when they ask, when He has already granted this very thing, namely, that 


among the Jews. The simplicity, symmetry of arrangement, depth and progress of thought, reverence of feeling, 
make it, indeed, the model prayer, — the Lord’s Prayer. Tertullian calls it breviariutn totius evangelii (so Meyer). 

271 Isa. i. 2. 

272 Ps. lxxxii. 6. 

273 Mai. i. 6. 

274 John i. 12. 

275 Rom. viii. 15-23 and Gal. iv. 1-6. 

276 Patrem quisquis appellare potest, omnia orare potest (Bengel). 


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they might be sons? Lastly, how great solicitude takes hold of the mind, that he who says 
“Our Father,” should not prove unworthy of so great a Father! For if any plebeian should 
be permitted by the party himself to call a senator of more advanced age father; without 
doubt he would tremble, and would not readily venture to do it, reflecting on the humbleness 
of his origin, and the scantiness of his resources, and the worthlessness of his plebeian person: 
how much more, therefore, ought we to tremble to call God Father, if there is so great a 
stain and so much baseness in our character, that God might much more justly drive forth 
these from contact with Himself, than that senator might the poverty of any beggar whatever! 
Since, indeed, he (the senator) despises that in the beggar to which even he himself may be 
reduced by the vicissitude of human affairs: but God never falls into baseness of character. 
And thanks be to the mercy of Him who requires this of us, that He should be our Father, — a 
relationship which can be brought about by no expenditure of ours, but solely by God’s 
goodwill. Here also there is an admonition to the rich and to those of noble birth, so far as 
this world is concerned, that when they have become Christians they should not comport 
themselves proudly towards the poor and the low of birth; since together with them they 
call God “Our Father,” — an expression which they cannot truly and piously use, unless they 
recognise that they themselves are brethren. 


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Chapter V. 

17. Let the new people, therefore, who are called to an eternal inheritance, use the word 
of the New Testament, and say, “Our Father who art in heaven,” i.e. in the holy and the 
just. For God is not contained in space. For the heavens are indeed the higher material 
bodies of the world, but yet material, and therefore cannot exist except in some definite 
place; but if God’s place is believed to be in the heavens, as meaning the higher parts of the 
world, the birds are of greater value than we, for their life is nearer to God. But it is not 
written, The Lord is nigh unto tall men, or unto those who dwell on mountains; but it is 
written, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart,” which refers rather to 
humility. But as a sinner is called earth, when it is said to him, “Earth thou art, and unto 
earth shalt thou return;” so, on the other hand, a righteous man may be called heaven. 
For it is said to the righteous, “For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And 
therefore, if God dwells in His temple, and the saints are His temple, the expression “which 
art in heaven” is rightly used in the sense, which art in the saints. And most suitable is such 
a similitude, so that spiritually there may be seen to be as great a difference between the 
righteous and sinners, as there is materially between heaven and earth. 

18. And for the purpose of showing this, when we stand at prayer, we turn to the east, 
whence the heaven rises: not as if God also were dwelling there, in the sense that He who is 
everywhere present, not as occupying space, but by the power of His majesty, had forsaken 
the other parts of the world; but in order that the mind may be admonished to turn to a 
more excellent nature, i.e. to God, when its own body, which is earthly, is turned to a more 
excellent body, i.e. to a heavenly one. It is also suitable for the different stages of religion, 
and expedient in the highest degree, that in the minds of all, both small and great, there 
should be cherished worthy conceptions of God. And therefore, as regards those who as yet 
are taken up with the beauties that are seen, and cannot think of anything incorporeal, 
inasmuch as they must necessarily prefer heaven to earth, their opinion is more tolerable, 
if they believe God, whom as yet they think of after a corporeal fashion, to be in heaven 
rather than upon earth: so that when at any future time they have learned that the dignity 
of the soul exceeds even a celestial body, they may seek Him in the soul rather than in a ce- 
lestial body even; and when they have learned how great a distance there is between the 
souls of sinners and of the righteous, just as they did not venture, when as yet they were 


277 “The address puts us into the proper attitude of prayer. It indicates our filial relation to God as ‘Father’ 
(word of faith), fraternal relation to our fellow-men (‘our,’ word of love), and our destination of ‘heaven’ (word 
of hope).” 

278 Ps. xxxiv. 18. 

279 Gen. iii. 19. 

280 1 Cor. iii. 17. 


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wise only after a carnal fashion, to place Him on earth, but in heaven, so afterwards with 
better faith or intelligence they may seek Him again in the souls of the righteous rather than 
in those of sinners. Hence, when it is said, “Our Father which art in heaven,” it is rightly 
understood to mean in the hearts of the righteous, as it were in His holy temple. And at the 
same time, in such a way that he who prays wishes Him whom he invokes to dwell in himself 
also; and when he strives after this, practises righteousness, — a kind of service by which God 
is attracted to dwell in the soul. 

19. Let us see now what things are to be prayed for. For it has been stated who it is that 
is prayed to, and where He dwells. First of all, then, of those things which are prayed for 
comes this petition, “Hallowed be Thy name.” And this is prayed for, not as if the name of 
God were not holy already, but that it maybe held holy by men; i.e., that God may so become 
known to them, that they shall reckon nothing more holy, and which they are more afraid 

981 

of offending. For, because it is said, “In Judah is God known; His name is great in Israel,” 
we are not to understand the statement in this way, as if God were less in one place, greater 
in another; but there His name is great, where He is named according to the greatness of 
His majesty. And so there His name is said to be holy, where He is named with veneration 
and the fear of offending Him. And this is what is now going on, while the gospel, by becom- 
ing known everywhere throughout the different nations, commends the name of the one 
God by means of the administration of His Son. 


281 Ps. lxxvi. 1. 


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Chapter VI. 

20. In the next place there follows, “Thy kingdom come.” Just as the Lord Himself 

teaches in the Gospel that the day of judgment will take place at the very time when the 
gospel shall have been preached among all nations: a thing which belongs to the hallowing 

of God’s name. For here also the expression “Thy kingdom come” is not used in such a way 
as if God were not now reigning. But some one perhaps might say the expression “come” 
meant upon earth, as if, indeed, He were not even now really reigning upon earth, and had 
not always reigned upon it from the foundation of the world. “Come,” therefore, is to be 
understood in the sense of “manifested to men.” For in the same way also as a light which 
is present is absent to the blind, and to those who shut their eyes; so the kingdom of God, 
though it never departs from the earth, is yet absent to those who are ignorant of it. But no 
one will be allowed to be ignorant of the kingdom of God, when His Only-begotten shall 
come from heaven, not only in a way to be apprehended by the understanding, but also 
visibly in the person of the Divine Man, in order to judge the quick and the dead. And after 
that judgment, i.e. when the process of distinguishing and separating the righteous from 
the unrighteous has taken place, God will so dwell in the righteous, that there will be no 

900 

need for any one being taught by man, but all will be, as it is written, “taught of God.” 
Then will the blessed life in all its parts be perfected in the saints unto eternity, just as now 
the most holy and blessed heavenly angels are wise and blessed, from the fact that God alone 
is their light; because the Lord hath promised this also to His own: “In the resurrection,” 
says He, they will be as the angels in heaven. ’ 

2 1 . And therefore, after that petition where we say, “Thy kingdom come,” there follows, 

“Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth:” i.e., just as Thy will is in the angels who are in 
heaven, so that they wholly cleave to Thee, and thoroughly enjoy Thee, no error beclouding 
their wisdom, no misery hindering their blessedness; so let it be done in Thy saints who are 
on earth, and made from the earth, so far as the body is concerned, and who, although it is 
into a heavenly habitation and exchange, are yet to be taken from the earth. To this there is 
a reference also in that doxology of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 

peace to men of goodwill:” so that when our goodwill has gone before, which follows 
Him that calleth, the will of God is perfected in us, as it is in the heavenly angels; so that no 
antagonism stands in the way of our blessedness: and this is peace. “Thy will be done” is 
also rightly understood in the sense of, Let obedience be rendered to Thy precepts: “as in 


282 Matt. xxiv. 14. 

283 Isa. liv. 13; John vi. 45. 

284 Matt. xxii. 30. 

285 In excelsis ; Vulgate, in altissimis. 

286 Luke ii. 14. 


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Chapter VI 


heaven so on earth,” i.e. as by the angels so by men. For, that the will of God is done when 
His precepts are obeyed, the Lord Himself says, when He affirms, “My meat is to do the will 
of Him that sent me;” and often, “I came, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him 

»288 cc 

that sent me;’ and when He says, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever 
shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” And therefore, 

in those at least who do the will of God, the will of God is accomplished; not because they 
cause God to will, but because they do what He wills, i.e. they do according to His will. 

22. There is also that other interpretation, “Thy will be done as in heaven so on 
earth,” — as in the holy and just, so also in sinners. And this, besides, may be understood in 
two ways: either that we should pray even for our enemies (for what else are they to be 
reckoned, in spite of whose will the Christian and Catholic name still spreads?), so that it 
is said, “Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,” — as if the meaning were, As the righteous 
do Thy will, in like manner let sinners also do it, so that they may be converted unto Thee; 
or in this sense, “Let Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,” so that every one may get 
his own; which will take place at the last judgment, the righteous being requited with a reward, 

9Q1 

sinners with condemnation — when the sheep shall be separated from the goats. 

23. That other interpretation also is not absurd, nay, it is thoroughly accordant with 

both our faith and hope, that we are to take heaven and earth in the sense of spirit and flesh. 
And since the apostle says, “With the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh 
the law of sin,” we see that the will of God is done in the mind, i.e. in the spirit. But when 

death shall have been swallowed up in victory, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, 
which will happen at the resurrection of the flesh, and at that change which is promised to 
the righteous, according to the prediction of the same apostle, let the will of God be done 
on earth, as it is in heaven; i.e., in such a way that, in like manner as the spirit does not resist 
God, but follows and does His will, so the body also may not resist the spirit or soul, which 
at present is harassed by the weakness of the body, and is prone to fleshly habit: and this 
will be an element of the perfect peace in the life eternal, that not only will the will be present 
with us, but also the performance of that which is good. “For to will,” says he, “is present 
with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not:” for not yet in earth as in heaven, 
i.e. not yet in the flesh as in the spirit, is the will of God done. For even in our misery the 


287 John iv. 34. 

288 John vi. 38. 

289 Vulgate, Patris qui in ccelis (“Father who is in heaven”). So the Greek. 

290 Matt. xxii. 49, 50. 

291 Matt. xxv. 33, 46. 

292 Rom. vii. 25. 

293 1 Cor. xv. 42, 55. 


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will of God is done, when we suffer those things through the flesh which are due to us in 
virtue of our mortality, which our nature has deserved because of its sin. But we are to pray 
for this, that the will of God may be done as in heaven so in earth; that in like manner as 
with the heart we delight in the law after the inward man, 294 so also, when the change in 
our body has taken place, no part of us may, on account of earthly griefs or pleasures, stand 
opposed to this our delight. 

24. Nor is that view inconsistent with truth, that we are to understand the words, “Thy 
will be done as in heaven so in earth,” as in our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so also in the 
Church: as if one were to say, As in the man who fulfilled the will of the Father, so also in 
the woman who is betrothed to him. For heaven and earth are suitably understood as if they 
were man and wife; since the earth is fruitful from the heaven fertilizing it. 


294 Rom. vii. 18, 22. 


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Chapter VII. 

25. The fourth petition is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread is put either 

for all those things which meet the wants of this life, in reference to which He says in His 
teaching, “Take no thought for the morrow:” so that on this account there is added, “Give 
us this day:” or, it is put for the sacrament of the body of Christ, which we daily receive: or, 
for the spiritual food, of which the same Lord says, “Labour for the meat which perisheth 
not;” and again, “I am the bread of life, which came down from heaven.” But which 

of these three views is the more probable, is a question for consideration. For perhaps some 
one may wonder why we should pray that we may obtain the things which are necessary 
for this life, — such, for instance, as food and clothing, — when the Lord Himself says, “Be 
not anxious what ye shall eat, or what ye shall put on.” Can any one not be anxious for a 
thing which he prays that he may obtain; when prayer is to be offered with so great earnest- 
ness of mind, that to this refers all that has been said about shutting our closets, and also 
the command, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things 
shall be added unto you”? Certainly He does not say, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
and then seek those other things; but “all these things,” says He, “shall be added unto you,” 
that is to say, even though ye are not seeking them. But I know not whether it can be found 
out, how one is rightly said not to seek what he most earnestly pleads with God that he may 
receive. 

26. But with respect to the sacrament of the Lord’s body (in order that they may not 
start a question, who, the most of them being in Eastern parts, do not partake of the Lord’s 
supper daily, while this bread is called daily bread: in order, therefore, that they may be silent, 
and not defend their way of thinking about this matter even by the very authority of the 
Church, because they do such things without scandal, and are not prevented from doing 
them by those who preside over their churches, and when they do not obey are not con- 
demned; whence it is proved that this is not understood as daily bread in these parts: for, if 
this were the case, they would be charged with the commission of a great sin, who do not 
on that account receive it daily; but, as has been said, not to argue at all to any extent from 
the case of such parties), this consideration at least ought to occur to those who reflect, that 
we have received a rule for prayer from the Lord, which we ought not to transgress, either 
by adding or omitting anything. And since this is the case, who is there who would venture 
to say that we ought only once to use the Lord’s Prayer, or at least that, even if we have used 
it a second or a third time before the hour at which we partake of the Lord’s body, afterwards 


295 Escam quce non corrumpitur, Vulgate, non cibum quiperit. 

296 Panis vitce ; Vulgate, panis vivus. 

297 John vi. 27, 41. 

Apponentur, Vulgate, adjicientur. 


298 


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we are assuredly not so to pray during the remaining hours of the day? For we shall no 
longer be able to say, “Give us this day,” respecting what we have already received; or every 
one will be able to compel us to celebrate that sacrament at the very last hour of the day. 

27. It remains, therefore, that we should understand the daily bread as spiritual, that is 
to say, divine precepts, which we ought daily to meditate and to labour after. For just with 
respect to these the Lord says, “Labour for the meat which perisheth not.” That food, 
moreover, is called daily food at present, so long as this temporal life is measured off by 
means of days that depart and return. And, in truth, so long as the desire of the soul is dir- 
ected by turns, now to what is higher, now to what is lower, i.e. now to spiritual things, now 
to carnal, as is the case with him who at one time is nourished with food, at another time 
suffers hunger; bread is daily necessary, in order that the hungry man may be recruited, and 
he who is falling down may be raised up. As, therefore, our body in this life, that is to say, 
before that great change, is recruited with food, because it feels loss; so may the soul also, 
since by means of temporal desires it sustains as it were a loss in its striving after God, be 
reinvigorated by the food of the precepts. Moreover, it is said, “Give us this day,” as long as 
it is called to-day, i.e. in this temporal life. For we shall be so abundantly provided with 
spiritual food after this life unto eternity, that it will not then be called daily bread; because 
there the flight of time, which causes days to succeed days, whence it may be called to-day, 
will not exist. But as it is said, “To-day, if ye will hear His voice,” 299 which the apostle inter- 
prets in the Epistle to the Hebrews, As long as it is called to-day; 300 so here also the expression 
is to be understood, “Give us this day.” But if any one wishes to understand the sentence 
before us also of food necessary for the body, or of the sacrament of the Lord’s body, we 
must take all three meanings conjointly; that is to say, that we are to ask for all at once as 
daily bread, both the bread necessary for the body, and the visible hallowed bread, and the 

on i 

invisible bread of the word of God. 


299 Ps. xcv. 7. 

300 Heb. iii. 13. 

301 The Greek eTuouatoc;, translated daily (see margin of Revised Version, with alternate rendering of 
American Committee), is found only here and in Luke (xi. 3). Its meaning does not seem to come under the 
review of Augustin, but has troubled modern commentators. It has been taken to mean (1) needful , hence suffi- 
cient, as opposed to superfluity or want (Chrysostom, Tholuck, Ewald, Ebrard, Weiss, etc.); (2) daily (Luther, 
English version, etc.); (3 )for the coming day (Grotius, Meyer, Thayer, Lightfoot, who has an elaborate treatment 
in Revision of English New Testament , Append, pp. 195-245). The direct reference of the bread to spiritual food 
is given by the Vulgate, and generally accepted in the Roman-Catholic Church. Olshausen, Delitzsch, Alford, 
etc., regard the spiritual nourishment involved by implication in the term. 


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Chapter VIII. 

Of)-} 

28. The fifth petition follows: “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our 
debtors.” It is manifest that by debts are meant sins, either from that statement which the 
Lord Himself makes, “Thou shaft by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the ut- 
termost farthing;” or from the fact that He called those men debtors who were reported 
to Him as having been killed, either those on whom the tower fell, or those whose blood 
Herod had mingled with the sacrifice. For He said that men supposed ft was because they 
were debtors above measure, i.e. sinners, and added “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, 
ye shall all likewise die.” 304 Here, therefore, it is not a money claim that one is pressed to 
remit, but whatever sins another may have committed against him. For we are enjoined to 
remit a money claim by that precept rather which has been given above, “If any man will 
sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;” nor is it necessary 

to remit a debt to every money debtor; but only to him who is unwilling to pay, to such an 
extent that he wishes even to go to law. “Now the servant of the Lord,” as says the apostle, 
“must not go to law.” And therefore to him who shall be unwilling, either spontaneously 
or when requested, to pay the money which he owes, it is to be remitted. For his unwillingness 
to pay will arise from one of two causes, either that he has it not, or that he is avaricious and 
covetous of the property of another; and both of these belong to a state of poverty: for the 
former is poverty of substance, the latter poverty of disposition. Whoever, therefore, remits 
a debt to such an one, remits it to one who is poor, and performs a Christian work; while 
that rule remains in force, that he should be prepared in mind to lose what is owing to him. 
For if he has used exertion in every way, quietly and gently, to have it restored to him, not 
so much aiming at a money profit, as that he may bring the man round to what is right, to 
whom without doubt it is hurtful to have the means of paying, and yet not to pay; not only 
will he not sin, but he will even do a very great service, in trying to prevent that other, who 
is wishing to make gain of another’s money, from making shipwreck of the faith; which is 
so much more serious a thing, that there is no comparison. And hence ft is understood that 
in this fifth petition also, where we say, “Forgive us our debts,” the words are spoken not 
indeed in reference to money, but in reference to all ways in which any one sins against us, 
and by consequence in reference to money also. For the man who refuses to pay you the 
money which he owes, when he has the means of doing so, sins against you. And if you do 


302 The present with the Vulgate, Textus Receptus, Teaching of Twelve Apostles. The perfect is found in B, 
Z, etc., and adopted by Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, and Revised Version. 

303 Matt. v. 26. 

304 Luke xiii. 1-5. Moriemini; Vulgate, peribitis. Augustin has written “Herod” instead of “Pilate.” 

305 Matt. v. 40. 


306 


2 Tim. ii. 24. 


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not forgive this sin, you will not be able to say, “Forgive us, as we also forgive;” but if you 
pardon it, you see how he who is enjoined to offer such a prayer is admonished also with 
respect to forgiving a money debt. 

29. That may indeed be construed in this way, that when we say, “Forgive us our debts, 

o r\ n 

as we also forgive,” then only are we convicted of having acted contrary to this rule, if 
we do not forgive them who ask pardon, because we also wish to be forgiven by our most 
gracious Father when we ask His pardon. But, on the other hand, by that precept whereby 
we are enjoined to pray for our enemies, it is not for those who ask pardon that we are en- 
joined to pray. For those who are already in such a state of mind are no longer enemies. By 
no possibility, however, could one truthfully say that he prays for one whom he has not 
pardoned. And therefore we must confess that all sins which are committed against us are 
to be forgiven, if we wish those to be forgiven by our Father which we commit against Him. 

mo 

For the subject of revenge has been sufficiently discussed already, as I think. 


307 Not “because,” nor “to the same extent as,” but “in the same manner as.” It is interesting to note the 
contrast between the spirit of Christianity and Islam as indicated by a comparison of this petition with the 
prayer offered every night by the ten thousand students at the Mahometan college in Cairo: “I seek refuge with 
Allah from Satan the accursed. In the name of Allah the compassionate, the merciful, O Lord of all the creatures! 
O Allah! destroy the infidels and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion. O Allah! make their 
children orphans, and defile their abodes. Cause their feet to slip,” etc. 

308 See Book i. chaps. 19, 20. 


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Chapter IX 


Chapter IX. 

30. The sixth petition is, “And bring 309 us not into temptation.” Some manuscripts have 

oin 

the word “lead,” which is, I judge, equivalent in meaning: for both translations have 
arisen from the one Greek word which is used. But many parties in prayer express themselves 
thus, “Suffer us not to be led into temptation;” that is to say, explaining in what sense the 
word “lead” is used. For God does not Himself lead, but suffers that man to be led into 
temptation whom He has deprived of His assistance, in accordance with a most hidden ar- 
rangement, and with his deserts. Often, also, for manifest reasons, He judges him worthy 
of being so deprived, and allowed to be led into temptation. But it is one thing to be led into 
temptation, another to be tempted. For without temptation no one can be proved, whether 
to himself, as it is written, “He that hath not been tempted, what manner of things doth he 

Oil 

know?” or to another, as the apostle says, “And your temptation in my flesh ye despised 
not:” for from this circumstance he learnt that they were stedfast, because they were not 
turned aside from charity by those tribulations which had happened to the apostle according 
to the flesh. For even before all temptations we are known to God, who knows all things 
before they happen. 

31. When, therefore, it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth (proveth) you, that He 

may know if ye love Him,” the words “that He may know” are employed for what is the 

real state of the case, that He may make you know: just as we speak of a joyful day, because 
it makes us joyful; of a sluggish frost, because it makes us sluggish; and of innumerable 
things of the same sort, which are found either in ordinary speech, or in the discourse of 
learned men, or in the Holy Scriptures. And the heretics who are opposed to the Old Testa- 
ment, not understanding this, think that the brand of ignorance, as it were, is to be placed 
upon Him of whom it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth you:” as if in the Gospel it were 
not written of the Lord, “And this He said to tempt (prove) him, for He Himself knew what 
He would do.” 314 For if He knew the heart of him whom He was tempting, what is it that 
He wished to see by tempting him? But in reality, that was done in order that he who was 
tempted might become known to himself, and that he might condemn his own despair, on 
the multitudes being filled with the Lord’s bread, while he had thought they had not enough 
to eat. 


309 Inferas. . . inducas, as the Vulgate. 

310 Inf eras... inducas, as the Vulgate. 

311 Ecclus. xxxiv. 9, 11. 

312 Gal. iv. 13, 14. The English version renders “my temptation,” but “your temptation” is the reading of the 
oldest mss. 

313 Deut. xiii. 3. 

314 Johnvi. 6. 

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32. Here, therefore, the prayer is not, that we should not be tempted, but that we should 
not be brought into temptation: as if, were it necessary that any one should be examined by 
fire, he should pray, not that he should not be touched by the fire, but that he should not 
be consumed. For “the furnace proveth the potter’s vessels, and the trial of tribulation 

o I r 

righteous men.” Joseph therefore was tempted with the allurement of debauchery, but 

lie 

he was not brought into temptation. Susanna was tempted, but she was not led or brought 

into temptation; and many others of both sexes: but Job most of all, in regard to whose 
admirable stedfastness in the Lord his God, those heretical enemies of the Old Testament, 
when they wish to mock at it with sacrilegious mouth, brandish this above other weapons, 

010 

that Satan begged that he should be tempted. For they put the question to unskilful men 

by no means able to understand such things, how Satan could speak with God: not under- 
standing (for they cannot, inasmuch as they are blinded by superstition and controversy) 
that God does not occupy space by the mass of His corporeity; and thus exist in one place, 
and not in another, or at least have one part here, and another elsewhere: but that He is 
everywhere present in His majesty, not divided by parts, but everywhere complete. But if 
they take a fleshly view of what is said, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my foot- 
stool,” — to which passage our Lord also bears testimony, when He says, “Swear not at 

inn 

all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool,” — what 
wonder if the devil, being placed on earth, stood before the feet of God, and spoke something 
in His presence? For when will they be able to understand that there is no soul, however 
wicked, which can yet reason in any way, in whose conscience God does not speak? For 
who but God has written the law of nature in the hearts of men? — that law concerning which 
the apostle says: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things 
contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the 
work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness, and 
their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another, in the day when the 

393 394 

Lord shall judge the secrets of men.” And therefore, as in the case of every rational 


315 Ecclus. xxvii. 5. 

316 Gen. xxxix. 7-12. 

317 Hist, of Sus. i. 19-22. 

318 Job i. 11. 

319 Isa. lxvi. 1. 

320 Matt. v. 34, 35. 

321 Contestant e\ Vulgate, testimonium reddente. 

322 Cogitationum accusantium ; Vulgate, cogitationibus accusantibus. 

323 Dominus ; Vulgate, Deus. 

324 Rom. ii. 14-16. 


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Chapter IX 


soul, which thinks and reasons, even though blinded by passion, we attribute whatever in 
its reasoning is true, not to itself but to the very light of truth by which, however faintly, it 
is according to its capacity illuminated, so as to perceive some measure of truth by its reas- 
oning; what wonder if the depraved spirit of the devil, perverted though it be by lust, should 
be represented as having heard from the voice of God Himself, i.e. from the voice of the 
very Truth, whatever true thought it has entertained about a righteous man whom it was 
proposing to tempt? But whatever is false is to be attributed to that lust from which he has 
received the name of devil. Although it is also the case that God has often spoken by means 
of a corporeal and visible creature whether to good or bad, as being Lord and Governor of 
all, and Disposer according to the merits of every deed: as, for instance, by means of angels, 
who appeared also under the aspect of men; and by means of the prophets, saying, Thus 
saith the Lord. What wonder then, if, though not in mere thought, at least by means of some 
creature fitted for such a work, God is said to have spoken with the devil? 

33. And let them not imagine it unworthy of His dignity, and as it were of His righteous- 
ness, that God spoke with him: inasmuch as He spoke with an angelic spirit, although one 
foolish and lustful, just as if He were speaking with a foolish and lustful human spirit. Or 
let such parties themselves tell us how He spoke with that rich man, whose most foolish 
covetousness He wished to censure, saying: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required 

OTC oo sr 

of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?” Certainly the 
Lord Himself says so in the Gospel, to which those heretics, whether they will or no, bend 
their necks. But if they are puzzled by this circumstance, that Satan asks from God that a 
righteous man should be tempted; I do not explain how it happened, but I compel them to 
explain why it is said in the Gospel by the Lord Himself to the disciples, “Behold, Satan hath 

oon 

desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat;” and He says to Peter, “But I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” And when they explain this to me, they explain 
to themselves at the same time that which they question me about. But if they should not 
be able to explain this, let them not dare with rashness to blame in any book what they read 
in the Gospel without offence. 

34. Temptations, therefore, take place by means of Satan not by his power, but by the 
Lord’s permission, either for the purpose of punishing men for their sins, or of proving and 
exercising them in accordance with the Lord’s compassion. And there is a very great differ- 
ence in the nature of the temptations into which each one may fall. For Judas, who sold his 
Lord, did not fall into one of the same nature as Peter fell into, when, under the influence 


325 Anima expostulate; Vulgate, animam repetunt. 

326 Luke xii. 20. 

327 Petit vos vexare quomodo triticum ; Vulgate, expetivit vos ut cribraret sicut triticum. 
Luke xxii. 31, 32. 


328 


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Chapter IX 


of terror, he denied his Lord. There are also temptations common to man, I believe, when 
every one, though well disposed, yet yielding to human frailty, falls into error in some plan, 
or is irritated against a brother, in the earnest endeavour to bring him round to what is right, 
yet a little more than Christian calmness demands: concerning which temptations the apostle 
says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man;” while he says 
at the same time, “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that 
ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to 
bear it.” And in that sentence he makes it sufficiently evident that we are not to pray 
that we may not be tempted, but that we may not be led into temptation. For we are led into 
temptation, if such temptations have happened to us as we are not able to bear. But when 
dangerous temptations, into which it is ruinous for us to be brought and led, arise either 
from prosperous or adverse temporal circumstances, no one is broken down by the irksome- 
ness of adversity, who is not led captive by the delight of prosperity. 

35. The seventh and last petition is, “But deliver us from evil.” For we are to pray not 

only that we may not be led into the evil from which we are free, which is asked in the sixth 
place; but that we may also be delivered from that into which we have been already led. And 
when this has been done, nothing will remain terrible, nor will any temptation at all have 
to be feared. And yet in this life, so long as we carry about our present mortality, into which 
we were led by the persuasion of the serpent, it is not to be hoped that this can be the case; 
but yet we are to hope that at some future time it will take place: and this is the hope which 

•3 OA 

is not seen, of which the apostle, when speaking, said, “But hope which is seen is not hope.” 
But yet the wisdom which is granted in this life also, is not to be despaired of by the faithful 
servants of God. And it is this, that we should with the most wary vigilance shun what we 
have understood, from the Lord’s revealing it, is to be shunned; and that we should with 
the most ardent love seek after what we have understood, from the Lord’s revealing it, is to 
be sought after. For thus, after the remaining burden of this mortality has been laid down 
in the act of dying, there shall be perfected in every part of man at the fit time, the blessedness 


329 Sinat ; Vulgate, patietur. 

330 Tolerare-, Vulgate, sustinere. 

331 ICor.x. 13. 

332 Trench, giving the essence of Augustin’s discussion, says, “God does tempt quite as truly as the devil 
tempts; all the difference lies in the end and aim with which they severally do it, — the one tempting to deceive, 
the other to approve: Satan, to their ruin; God, to their everlasting gain.” 

333 Alford and other modern commentators agree with Augustin in explaining onto rou ttovqpou “of evil;” 
Bengel, Meyer, Schaff, and others (see Revised Version) make the form masculine, — “the Evil One.” 

334 Rom. viii. 24. 


Ill 


Chapter IX 


which has been begun in this life, and which we have from time to time strained every nerve 
to lay hold of and secure. 


112 



Chapter X 


Chapter X. 

36. But the distinction among these seven petitions is to be considered and commended. 
For inasmuch as our temporal life is being spent now, and that which is eternal hoped for, 
and inasmuch as eternal things are superior in point of dignity, albeit it is only when we 
have done with temporal things that we pass to the other; although the three first petitions 
begin to be answered in this life, which is being spent in the present world (for both the 
hallowing of God’s name begins to be carried on just with the coming of the lord of humility; 
and the coming of His kingdom, to which He will come in splendour, will be manifested, 
not after the end of the world, but in the end of the world; and the perfect doing of His will 
in earth as in heaven, whether you understand by heaven and earth the righteous and sinners, 
or spirit and flesh, or the Lord and the Church, or all these things together, will be brought 
to completion just with the perfecting of our blessedness, and therefore at the close of the 
world), yet all three will remain to eternity. For both the hallowing of God’s name will go 
on for ever, and there is no end of His kingdom, and eternal life is promised to our perfected 
blessedness. Hence those three things will remain consummated and thoroughly completed 
in that life which is promised us. 

o o c 

37. But the other four things which we ask seem to me to belong to this temporal life. 
And the first of them is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” For whether by this same thing 
which is called daily bread be meant spiritual bread, or that which is visible in the sacrament 
or in this sustenance of ours, it belongs to the present time, which He has called “to-day,” 
not because spiritual food is not everlasting, but because that which is called daily food in 
the Scriptures is represented to the soul either by the sound of the expression or by temporal 
signs of any kind: things all of which will certainly no more have existence when all shall be 

O O s' 

taught of God, and thus shall no longer be making known to others by movement of 
their bodies, but drinking in each one for himself by the purity of his mind the ineffable 
light of truth itself. For perhaps for this reason also it is called bread, not drink, because 
bread is converted into aliment by breaking and masticating it, just as the Scriptures feed 
the soul by being opened up and made the subject of discourse; but drink, when prepared, 
passes as it is into the body: so that at present the truth is bread, when it is called daily bread; 
but then it will be drink, when there will be no need of the labour of discussing and discours- 
ing, as it were of breaking and masticating, but merely of drinking unmingled and transparent 
truth. And sins are at present forgiven us, and at present we forgive them; which is the 
second petition of these four that remain: but then there will be no pardon of sins, because 
there will be no sins. And temptations molest this temporal life; but they will have no exist- 


335 Or, as he expresses it in another place ( Sermon lvii. 7), “to this life of our pilgrimage” (“ ista vitaperegrin- 
ationis nostrce”). 

336 Isa. liv. 13; John vi. 45. 


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ence when these words shall be fully realized, “Thou shall hide them in the secret of Thy 
presence.” And the evil from which we wish to be delivered, and the deliverance from 
evil itself, belong certainly to this life, which as being mortal we have deserved at the hand 
of God’s justice, and from which we are delivered by His mercy. 


337 Ps. xxxi. 20. 


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Chapter XI. 

38. The sevenfold number of these petitions also seems to me to correspond to that 

o o o 

sevenfold number out of which the whole sermon before us has had its rise. For if it is 
the fear of God through which the poor in spirit are blessed, inasmuch as theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven; let us ask that the name of God maybe hallowed among men through 
that “fear which is clean, enduring for ever.” If it is piety through which the meek are 
blessed, inasmuch as they shall inherit the earth; let us ask that His kingdom may come, 
whether it be over ourselves, that we may become meek, and not resist Him, or whether it 
be from heaven to earth in the splendour of the Lord’s advent, in which we shall rejoice, 
and shall be praised, when He says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 340 the kingdom 
prepared for you from the foundation 341 of the world.” 342 For “in the Lord,” says the 

'lA'X 

prophet, “shall my soul be praised; the meek shall hear thereof, and be glad.” If it is 
knowledge through which those who mourn are blessed, inasmuch as they shall be comforted; 
let us pray that His will may be done as in heaven so in earth, because when the body, which 
is as it were the earth, shall agree in a final and complete peace with the soul, which is as it 
were heaven, we shall not mourn: for there is no other mourning belonging to this present 
time, except when these contend against each other, and compel us to say, “I see another 
law in my members, warring against the law of my mind;” and to testify our grief with 
tearful voice, “O wretched 344 man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death?” 345 If it is fortitude through which those are blessed who hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, inasmuch as they shall be filled; let us pray that our daily bread may be given 
to us to-day, by which, supported and sustained, we may be able to reach that most abundant 
fulness. If it is prudence through which the merciful are blessed, inasmuch as they shall 
obtain mercy; let us forgive their debts to our debtors, and let us pray that ours may be for- 
given to us. If it is understanding through which the pure in heart are blessed, inasmuch as 
they shall see God; let us pray not to be led into temptation, lest we should have a double 
heart, in not seeking after a single good, to which we may refer all our actings, but at the 
same time pursuing things temporal and earthly. For temptations arising from those things 
which seem to men burdensome and calamitous, have no power over us, if those other 


338 Lange draws a comparison between the petitions and the Beatitudes similar to that which follows. 

339 Ps. xix. 9. 

340 Accipite-, Vulgate, possidete. 

341 Origine , Vulgate, constitutione. 

342 Matt. xxv. 34. 

343 Ps. xxxiv. 2. 

344 Miser, Vulgate, infelix. 

345 Rom. vii. 23, 24. 


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temptations have no power which befall us through the enticements of such things as men 
count good and cause for rejoicing. If it is wisdom through which the peacemakers are 
blessed, inasmuch as they shall be called the children of God; 346 let us pray that we may be 
freed from evil, for that very freedom will make us free, i.e. sons of God, so that we may cry 

047 

in the spirit of adoption, “Abba, Father.” 

39. Nor are we indeed carelessly to pass by the circumstance, that of all those sentences 
in which the Lord has taught us to pray, He has judged that that one is chiefly to be com- 
mended which has reference to the forgiveness of sins: in which He would have us to be 
merciful, because it is the only wisdom for escaping misery. For in no other sentence do we 
pray in such a way that we, as it were, enter into a compact with God: for we say, “Forgive 
us, as we also forgive.” And if we he in that compact, the whole prayer is fruitless. For He 
speaks thus: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive 
you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your tres- 
passes.” 


346 Matt. v. 3-9. 

347 Rom. viii. 15 and Gal. iv. 6. 


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Chapter XII. 

40. There follows a precept concerning fasting, having reference to that same purification 
of heart which is at present under discussion. For in this work also we must be on our guard, 
lest there should creep in a certain ostentation and hankering after the praise of man, which 
would make the heart double, and not allow it to be pure and single for apprehending God. 
“Moreover, when ye fast,” says He, “be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they 
disfigure their faces, 348 that they may appear 349 unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, 
they have their reward. But ye, when ye fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; that 
ye appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret: and your Father, 
which seeth in secret, shall reward you.” It is manifest from these precepts that all our effort 
is to be directed towards inward joys, lest, seeking a reward from without, we should be 
conformed to this world, and should lose the promise of a blessedness so much the more 
solid and firm, as it is inward, in which God has chosen that we should become conformed 
to the image of His Son. 

41. But in this section it is chiefly to be noticed, that there maybe ostentatious display 
not merely in the splendour and pomp of things pertaining to the booty, but also in doleful 
squalor itself; and the more dangerous on this account, that it deceives under the name of 
serving God. And therefore he who is very conspicuous by immoderate attention to the 
body, and by the splendour of his clothing or other things, is easily convicted by the things 
themselves of being a follower of the pomps of the world, and misleads no one by a cunning 
semblance of sanctity; but in regard to him who under a profession of Christianity, fixes 
the eyes of men upon himself by unusual squalor and filth, when he does it voluntarily, and 
not under the pressure of necessity, it may be conjectured from the rest of his actings 
whether he does this from contempt of superfluous attention to the body, or from a certain 
ambition: for the Lord has enjoined us to beware of wolves under a sheep’s skin; but “by 
their fruits,” says He, “shall ye know them.” For when by temptations of any kind those very 
things begin to be withdrawn from them or refused to them, which under that veil they 


348 Vultum. . .videantur, Vulgate, facies... appareant. The Greek has a play on words, d<pavtijouai...<pavu)ai 
(“they mar their appearance, that they may make an appearance”). 

349 Vultum. . .videantur; Vulgate, facies... appareant. The Greek has a play on words, dcpavi<jouai...cpavtoai 
(“they mar their appearance, that they may make an appearance”). 

350 Vulgate has the singular as the Greek. The Pharisees were scrupulous in keeping fast-days. Monday and 
Thursday were observed by the strict with different degrees of scrupulosity, — the lowest admitting of washing 
and anointing the head. (See Schiirer, N. Zeitgesch. p. 505 sqq.). The early practice of fasting in the sub- 
apostolic Church is evident from the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which enjoins it before baptism, and on 
the “fourth day and the Preparation Day” (vii., viii.). 

351 Rom. viii. 29. 


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either have obtained or desire to obtain, then of necessity it appears whether it is a wolf in 
a sheep’s skin or a sheep in its own. For a Christian ought not to delight the eyes of men by 
superfluous ornament on this account, because pretenders also too often assume that frugal 
and merely necessary dress, that they may deceive those who are not on their guard: for 
those sheep also ought not to lay aside their own skins, if at any time wolves cover themselves 
there with. 

42. It is usual, therefore, to ask what He means, when He says: “But ye, when ye fast, 
anoint your head, and wash your faces, that ye appear not unto men to fast.” For it would 
not be right in any one to teach (although we may wash our face according to daily custom) 
that we ought also to have our heads anointed when we fast. If, then, all admit this to be 
most unseemly, we must understand this precept with respect to anointing the head and 
washing the face as referring to the inner man. Hence, to anoint the head refers to joy; 
to wash the face, on the other hand, refers to purity: and therefore that man anoints his head 
who rejoices inwardly in his mind and reason. For we rightly understand that as being the 
head which has the pre-eminence in the soul, and by which it is evident that the other parts 
of man are ruled and governed. And this is done by him who does not seek his joy from 
without, so as to draw his delight in a fleshly way from the praises of men. For the flesh, 
which ought to be subject, is in no way the head of the whole nature of man. “No man,” 
indeed, “ever yet hated his own flesh,” as the apostle says, when giving the precept as to 

o r o 

loving one’s wife; but the man is the head of the woman, and Christ is the head of the 
man. 354 Let him, therefore, rejoice inwardly in his fasting 355 in this very circumstance, that 
by his fasting he so turns away from the pleasure of the world as to be subject to Christ, who 
according to this precept desires to have the head anointed. For thus also he will wash his 
face, i.e. cleanse his heart, with which he shall see God, no veil being interposed on account 
of the infirmity contracted from squalor; but being firm and stedfast, inasmuch as he is pure 
and guileless. “Wash you,” says He, “make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from 

ir/r 

before mine eyes.” ' From the squalor, therefore, by which the eye of God is offended, our 
face is to be washed. For we, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 

or-7 

are changed into the same image. 

43. Often also the thought of things necessary belonging to this life wounds and defiles 
our inner eye; and frequently it makes the heart double, so that in regard to those things in 


352 So modern exegetes (Meyer, etc.). 

353 Eph. v. 25-33. 

354 1 Cor. xi. 3. 

355 “It hardly needs to add,” says Trench, “that Augustin everywhere interprets ‘when ye fast’ as a command.” 

356 Isa. i. 16. 

357 2 Cor. iii. 18. 


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which we seem to act rightly with our fellowmen, we do not act with that heart wherewith 
the Lord enjoins us; i.e., it is not because we love them, but because we wish to obtain some 
advantage from them for the necessity of the present life. But we ought to do them good for 
their eternal salvation, not for our own temporal advantage. May God, therefore, incline 

or o 

our heart to His testimonies, and not to covetousness. For “the end of the commandment 

orn 

is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” " But he 
who looks after his brother from a regard to his own necessities in this life, does not certainly 
do so from love, because he does not look after him whom he ought to love as himself, but 
after himself; or rather not even after himself, seeing that in this way he makes his own heart 
double, by which he is hindered from seeing God, in the vision of whom alone there is certain 
and lasting blessedness. 


358 Ps. cxix. 36. 

359 1 Tim. i. 5. 


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Chapter XIII. 

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44. Rightly, therefore, does he who is intent on cleansing our heart follow up what 

o /: i 

He has said with a precept, where He says: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon 
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, 
and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your 
heart be 364 also.” If, therefore, the heart be on earth, i.e. if one perform anything with a heart 
bent on obtaining earthly advantage, how will that heart be clean which wallows on earth? 
But if it be in heaven, it will be clean, because whatever things are heavenly are clean. For 
anything becomes polluted when it is mixed with a nature that is inferior, although not 
polluted of its kind; for gold is polluted even by pure silver, if it be mixed with it: so also our 
mind becomes polluted by the desire after earthly things, although the earth itself be pure 
of its kind and order. But we would not understand heaven in this passage as anything cor- 
poreal, because everything corporeal is to be reckoned as earth. For he who lays up treasure 
for himself in heaven ought to despise the whole world. Hence it is in that heaven of which 

■3/f c 

it is said, “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, i.e. in the spiritual firmament: for it is not 

in that which is to pass away that we ought to fix and place our treasure and our heart, but 
in that which ever abideth; but heaven and earth shall pass away. 

45. And here He makes it manifest that He gives all these precepts with a view to the 

cleansing of the heart, when He says: “The candle of the body is the eye: if therefore thine 

eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body 

o zr o 

shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light [lamp] that is in thee be darkness, how 
great is that darkness!” And this passage we are to understand in such a way as to learn from 
it that all our works are pure and well-pleasing in the sight of God, when they are done with 
a single heart, i.e. with a heavenly intent, having that end of love in view; for love is also the 


360 Having uttered warnings against formalists, the Lord now passes to the complete dedication of the heart. 

361 Condere... tinea et comestura exterminant; Vulgate, thesaurizare. . .cerugo et tinea domolitur. 

362 Not the specific rust of metals; wider sense of wear and tear. 

363 Condere... tinea et comestura exterminant; Vulgate, thesaurizare... cerugo et tinea domolitur. 

364 Erit; Vulgate, est. 

365 Ps. cxv. 16. 

366 Matt. xxiv. 35. Robert South gives his sermon on this passage the heading, “No man ever went to heaven 
whose heart was not there before.” It has been remarked, as regards an earthly Church, one does not take abiding 
interest in it unless one gives toward it. 

367 Lucerna... lumen. 

368 Lucerna... lumen. 


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fulfilling of the law. Hence we ought to take the eye here in the sense of the intent itself, 
wherewith we do whatever we are doing; and if this be pure and right, and looking at that 
which ought to be looked at, all our works which we perform in accordance therewith are 
necessarily good. And all those works He has called the whole body; for the apostle also 
speaks of certain works of which he disapproves as our members, and teaches that they are 
to be mortified, saying, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornic- 
ation, uncleanness, covetousness, and all other such things. 

46. It is not, therefore, what one does, but the intent with which he does it, that is to be 
considered. For this is the light in us, because it is a thing manifest to ourselves that we do 
with a good intent what we are doing; for everything which is made manifest is light. For 

the deeds themselves which go forth from us to human society, have an uncertain issue; and 
therefore He has called them darkness. For I do not know, when I present money to a poor 
man who asks it, either what he is to do with it, or what he is to suffer from it; and it may 
happen that he does some evil with it, or suffers some evil on account of it, a thing I did not 
wish to happen when I gave it to him, nor would I have given it with such an intention. If, 
therefore, I did it with a good intention, — a thing which was known to me when I was doing 
it, and is therefore called light, — my deed also is lighted up, whatever issue it shall have; but 
that issue, inasmuch as it is uncertain and unknown, is called darkness. But if I have done 
it with a bad intent, the light itself even is darkness. For it is spoken of as light, because every 
one knows with what intent he acts, even when he acts with a bad intent; but the light itself 
is darkness, because the aim is not directed singly to things above, but is turned downwards 
to things beneath, and makes, as it were, a shadow by means of a double heart. “If, therefore, 
the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” i.e., if the very intent of the 
heart with which you do what you are doing (which is known to you) is polluted by the 
hunger after earthly and temporal things, and blinded, how much more is the deed itself, 
whose issue is uncertain, polluted and full of darkness! Because, although what you do with 
an intent which is neither upright nor pure, may turn out for some one’s good, it is the way 
in which you have done it, not how it has turned out for him, that is reckoned to you. 


369 Rom. xiii. 10. 

370 Col. iii. 5. 

371 “Singleness of intention will preserve us from the snare of having a double treasure, and therefore a divided 
heart” (Plumptre). 

372 Eph. v. 13. Augustin’s rendering here is the true sense of the original. 

373 The eye is as the lamp (Revised Version) through which the body gets light, — the organ whose proper 

work it is to transmit light. The blind have no light, because their lamp is out or destroyed. The light within us 
is “the reason, especially the practical reason” (Meyer); that which is left of the divine image in man (Tholuck); 
the reason that was left after the fall of Adam (Calvin); the Old-Testament revelation perverted (Lange); the 
conscience (Alford). “The spirit of man is the candle (lamp. Revised Version) of the Lord” (Prov. xx. 27): it 


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Chapter XIV. 

47. Then, further, the statement which follows, “No man can serve two masters,” is to 
be referred to this very intent, as He goes on to explain, saying: “For either he will hate the 
one, and love the other; or else he will submit to the one, and despise the other.” And 
these words are to be carefully considered; for who the two masters are he forthwith shows, 
when He says, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Riches are said to be called mammon 
among the Hebrews. The Punic name also corresponds: for gain is called mammon in Pun- 

0-7C 

ic. But he who serves mammon certainly serves him who, as being set over those earthly 
things in virtue of his perversity, is called by our Lord the prince of this world. A man 
will therefore “either hate” this one, “and love the other,” i.e. God; “or he will submit to the 
one, and despise the other.” For whoever serves mammon submits to a hard and ruinous 
master: for, being entangled by his own lust, he becomes a subject of the devil, and he does 
not love him; for who is there who loves the devil? But yet he submits to him; as in any large 
house he who is connected with another man’s maid servant submits to hard bondage on 
account of his passion, even though he does not love him whose maid-servant he loves. 

48. But “he will despise the other,” He has said; not, he will hate. For almost no one’s 
conscience can hate God; but he despises, i.e. he does not fear Him, as if feeling himself secure 
in consideration of His goodness. From this carelessness and ruinous security the Holy 
Spirit recalls us, when He says by the prophet, “My son, do not add sin upon sin, and say, 
The mercy of God is great ;” and, “Knowest thou not that the patience of God in- 
viteth thee to repentance?” For whose mercy can be mentioned as being so great as 
His, who pardons all the sins of those who return, and makes the wild olive a partaker of 
the fatness of the olive? and whose severity as being so great as His, who spared not the 


guides the faculties of the soul. But if it be in darkness how great is that darkness; i. e. the darkness which already 
existed! What a terrible condition those are in who do not receive the Spirit of enlightenment (who becomes 
the “inner light”), and feel no need of Him! “He whose affections are on heavenly things, has his whole soul 
lighted; he whose affections are depraved, has his understanding and his whole soul darkened also” (Mansel). 

374 Alterum patietur ; Vulgate, unum sustinebit. 

375 Augustin is the only one to give this derivation. His residence in North Africa is the explanation of his 
knowledge of the Punic. The word probably comes from the Chaldee and through the Hebrew word aman, 
“what is trusted in.” (See Thayer, Lexicon.) 

376 John xii. 31 and xiv. 30. 

377 Ecclus. v. 5, 6. 

378 Patientia...invitat-,'Vu\gate, benignitas...adducit. 

379 Patientia...invitat-,'Vu\gate, benignitas...adducit. 

380 Rom. ii. 4. 


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o o i 

natural branches, but broke them off because of unbelief? But let not any one who wishes 

to love God, and to beware of offending Him, suppose that he can serve two masters; 
and let him disentangle the upright intention of his heart from all doubleness: for thus he 

o 05 

will think of the Lord with a good heart, and in simplicity of heart will seek Him. 


381 Rom. xi. 17-24. 

382 Luther says the world can do it in a masterly way, and carry the tree (or “water” according to the English 
figure) on both shoulders. This verse is a rebuke to those who think they can combine a supreme affection for 
heavenly and for earthly things at the same time, and pursue both with equal zeal. 

383 Wisd. i. 1. 


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Chapter XV. 

49. “Therefore,” says He, “I say unto you, Have not anxiety for your life, what ye shall 

O o r 

eat; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” Lest perchance, although it is not now 
superfluities that are sought after, the heart should be made double by reason of necessaries 
themselves, and the aim should be wrenched aside to seek after those things of our own, 
when we are doing something as it were from compassion; i.e. so that when we wish to appear 
to be consulting for some one’s good, we are in that matter looking after our own profit 
rather than his advantage: and we do not seem to ourselves to be sinning for this reason, 
that it is not superfluities, but necessaries, which we wish to obtain. But the Lord admonishes 
us that we should remember that God, when He made and compounded us of body and 
soul, gave us much more than food and clothing, through care for which He would not have 
us make our hearts double. “Is not,” says He, “the soul more than the meat?” So that you 
are to understand that He who gave the soul will much more easily give meat. “And the 
body than the raiment,” i.e. is more than raiment: so that similarly you are to understand, 
that He who gave the body will much more easily give raiment. 

50. And in this passage the question is wont to be raised, whether the food spoken of 

has reference to the soul, since the soul is incorporeal, and the food in question is corporeal 
food. But let us admit that the soul in this passage stands for the present life, whose support 
is that corporeal nourishment. In accordance with this signification we have also that 
statement: “He that loveth his soul shall lose it.” And here, unless we understand the ex- 
pression of this present life, which we ought to lose for the kingdom of God, as it is clear 
the martyrs were able to do, this precept will be in contradiction to that sentence where it 
is said: “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 

51. “Behold,” says He, “the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor 
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them: are ye not much better than they?” 
i.e. ye are of more value. For surely a rational being such as man has a higher rank in the 

OOQ 

nature of things than irrational ones, such as birds. “Which of you, by taking thought, 
can add one cubit unto his stature? 390 And why take ye thought for raiment?” That is to 

384 Habere sollicitudinem ; Vulgate, sollicitce sitis. 

385 Edatis-, Vulgate, manducetis. 

386 John xii. 25. 

387 Detrimentum faciat; Vulgate, detrimentum patiatur. 

388 Matt. xvi. 26. 

389 Curans-, Vulgate, cogitans. 

390 The term r|AiKta, translated by Augustin and the Vulgate statura , and by the English version stature , 
more probably means the measure of life, or age (American notes to Revised Version, Tholuck, De Wette, Trench, 
Alford, Meyer, Schaff, Plumptre, Weiss, etc.) A cubit was equal to the length of the forearm. The force of the 


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say, the providence of Him by whose power and sovereignty it has come about that your 
body was brought up to its present stature, can also clothe you; but that it is not by your 
care that it has come about that your body should arrive at this stature, may be understood 
from this circumstance, that if you should take thought, and should wish to add one cubit 
to this stature, you cannot. Leave, therefore, the care of protecting the body to Him by whose 
care you see it has come about that you have a body of such a stature. 

52. But an example was to be given for the clothing too, just as one is given for the food. 
Hence He goes on to say, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, 

OQ 1 

neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not 
arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day 
is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little 
faith?” But these examples are not to be treated as allegories, so that we should inquire what 
the fowls of heaven or the lilies of the field mean: for they stand here, in order that from 
smaller matters we may be persuaded respecting greater ones; just as is the case in regard 

to the judge who neither feared God nor regarded man, and yet yielded to the widow who 
often importuned him to consider her case, not from piety or humanity, but that he might 
be saved annoyance. For that unjust judge does not in any way allegorically represent the 
person of God; but yet as to how far God, who is good and just, cares for those who supplicate 
Him, our Lord wished the inference to be drawn from this circumstance, that not even an 
unjust man can despise those who assail him with unceasing petitions, even were his motive 
merely to avoid annoyance. 394 


Lord’s words would be greatly diminished if such a measure was conceived of as possible to be added to the 
stature. The idea is, that human ingenuity and labor cannot add the least measure. 

391 To the Jew the highest representative of splendour and pomp. 

392 Vestitutus-, Vulgate, coopertus. “As the beauties of the flower are unfolded by the divine Creator Spirit 
from within , from the laws and capacities of its own individual life, so must all true adornment of man be unfolded 
from within by the same Spirit. This hidden meaning must not be overlooked” (Alford). The law of spiritual 
growth is mysterious and spontaneous. 

393 The argument, so called, a minore ad majus. 

394 Luke xviii. 2-8. 


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Chapter XVI. 

OQ r 

53. “Therefore be not anxious,” says He,” saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall 
we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles 
seek:) for your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the 
kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 
Here He shows most manifestly that these things are not to be sought as if they were our 
blessings in such sort, that on account of them we ought to do well in all our actings, but 
yet that they are necessary. For what the difference is between a blessing which is to be 
sought, and a necessary which is to be taken for use, He has made plain by this sentence, 
when He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things 
shall be added unto you.” The kingdom and the righteousness of God therefore are our 
good; and this is to be sought, and there the end is to be set up, on account of which we are 
to do everything which we do. But because we serve as soldiers in this life, in order that we 
maybe able to reach that kingdom, and because our life cannot be spent without these ne- 
cessaries, “These things shall be added unto you,” says He; “but seek ye first the kingdom 
of God and His righteousness.” For in using that word “first,” He has indicated that this is 
to be sought later, not in point of time, but in point of importance: the one as being our 
good, the other as being something necessary for us; but the necessary on account of that 
good. 

54. For neither ought we, for example, to preach the gospel with this object, that we 
may eat; but to eat with this object, that we may preach the gospel: for if we preach the 
gospel for this cause, that we may eat, we reckon the gospel of less value than food; and in 
that case our good will be in eating, but that which is necessary for us in preaching the gospel. 
And this the apostle also forbids, when he says it is lawful for himself even, and permitted 
by the Lord, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel, i.e. should have from 
the gospel the necessaries of this life; but yet that he has not made use of this power. For 
there were many who were desirous of having an occasion for getting and selling the gospel, 
from whom the apostle wished to cut off this occasion, and therefore he submitted to a way 
of living by his own hands. 399 For concerning these parties he says in another passage, “That 
I may cut off occasion from them which seek 400 occasion.” 401 Although even if, like the rest 


395 Edernus. . .vestiemur, Vulgate, manducabimus. . .operiemur. 

396 Edemus...vestiem ur, Vulgate, manducabimus... operiemur. 

397 Apponentur, Vulgate, adjicientur. 

398 Matt. vi. 33. 

399 Acts xx. 34. 

400 Qucerunt ; Vulgate, volunt. 

401 2 Cor. xi. 12. 


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of the good apostles, by the permission of the Lord he should live of the gospel, he would 
not on that account place the end of preaching the gospel in that living, but would rather 
make the gospel the end of his living; i.e., as I have said above, he would not preach the 
gospel with this object, that he might get his food and all other necessaries; but he would 
take such things for this purpose, in order that he might carry out that other object, viz. that 
willingly, and not of necessity, he should preach the gospel. For this he disapproves of when 
he says, “Do ye not know, that they which minister in the temple 402 eat the things which 
are of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath 
the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have 
used none of these things.” Hence he shows that it was permitted, not commanded; otherwise 
he will be held to have acted contrary to the precept of the Lord. Then he goes on to say: 
“Neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better 
for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void .” 403 This he said, as he had 
already resolved, because of some who were seeking occasion, to gain a living by his own 
hands. “For if I preach the gospel,” says he, “I have nothing to glory of:” i.e., if I preach the 
gospel in order that such things may be done in my case, or, if I preach with this object, in 
order that I may obtain those things, and if I thus place the end of the gospel in meat and 
drink and clothing. But wherefore has he nothing to glory of? “Necessity,” says he,” is laid 
upon me;” i.e. so that I should preach the gospel for this reason, because I have not the 
means of living, or so that I should acquire temporal fruit from the preaching of eternal 
things; for thus, consequently, the preaching of the gospel will be a matter of necessity, not 
of free choice. “For woe is unto me,” says he, “if I preach not the gospel!” But how ought he 
to preach the gospel? Evidently in such a way as to place the reward in the gospel itself, and 
in the kingdom of God: for thus he can preach the gospel, not of constraint, but willingly. 
“For if I do this thing willingly,” says he, “I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispens- 
ation of the gospel is committed unto me ;” 404 if, constrained by the want of those things 
which are necessary for temporal life, I preach the gospel, others will have through me the 
reward of the gospel, who love the gospel itself when I preach it; but I shall not have it, be- 
cause it is not the gospel itself I love, but its price lying in those temporal things. And this 
is something sinful, that any one should minister the gospel not as a son, but as a servant 
to whom a stewardship of it has been committed; that he should, as it were, pay out what 
belongs to another, but should himself receive nothing from it except victuals, which are 
given not in consideration of his sharing in the kingdom, but from without, for the support 
of a miserable bondage. Although in another passage he calls himself also a steward. For a 


402 

403 


404 


Templo ; Vulgate, sacrario. 
Inanem faciat-, Vulgate, evacuet. 
1 Cor. ix. 13-17. 


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servant also, when adopted into the number of the children, is able faithfully to dispense to 
those who share with him that property in which he has acquired the lot of a fellow-heir. 
But in the present case, where he says, “But if against my will, a dispensation (stewardship) 
is committed unto me,” he wished such a steward to be understood as dispenses what belongs 
to another, and from it gets nothing himself. 

55. Hence anything whatever that is sought for the sake of something else, is doubtless 
inferior to that for the sake of which it is sought; and therefore that is first for the sake of 
which you seek such a thing, not the thing which you seek for the sake of that other. And 
for this reason, if we seek the gospel and the kingdom of God for the sake of food, we place 
food first, and the kingdom of God last; so that if food were not to fail us, we would not seek 
the kingdom of God: this is to seek food first, and then the kingdom of God. But if we seek 
food for this end, that we may gain the kingdom of God, we do what is said, “Seek ye first 
the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 405 


405 Nor is it said, “Seek. . .in order that all these things may be added:” simply, “and all” etc., yet largely in- 
clusive, — sanctity and comfort. The comfort follows naturally. The passage is a rebuke to those who condemn 
the amenities of life and art, and a caution to those who place these things before themselves as a chief end. The 
passage justifies the statement that religion (or godliness) is profitable for the life that now is. The Psalmist 
never saw the righteous forsaken. A traditional saying of Jesus, quoted by Clement, Origen, and Eusebius, runs, 
“Ask great things, and little things shall be added; ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added.” 


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Chapter XVII. 

56. For in the case of those who are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteous- 
ness, i.e. who are preferring this to all other things, so that for its sake they are seeking the 
other things, there ought not to remain behind the anxiety lest those things should fail which 
are necessary to this life for the sake of the kingdom of God. For He has said above, “Your 
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” And therefore, when He had said, 
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” He did not say, Then seek such 
things (although they are necessary), but He affirms “all these things shall be added unto 
you,” 406 i.e. will follow, if ye seek the former, without any hindrance on your part: lest while 
ye seek such things, ye should be turned away from the other; or lest ye should set up two 
things to be aimed at, so as to seek both the kingdom of God for its own sake, and such ne- 
cessaries: but these rather for the sake of that other; so shall they not be wanting to you. For 
ye cannot serve two masters. But the man is attempting to serve two masters, who seeks 
both the kingdom of God as a great good, and these temporal things. He will not, however, 
be able to have a single eye, and to serve the Lord God alone, unless he take all other things, 
so far as they are necessary, for the sake of this one thing, i.e. for the sake of the kingdom 
of God. But as all who serve as soldiers receive provisions and pay, so all who preach the 
gospel receive food and clothing. But all do not serve as soldiers for the welfare of the republic, 
but some do so for what they get: so also all do not minister to God for the welfare of the 
Church, but some do so for the sake of these temporal things, which they are to obtain in 
the shape as it were of provisions and pay; or both for the one thing and for the other. But 
it has been already said above, “Ye cannot serve two masters.” Hence it is with a single heart 
and only for the sake of the kingdom of God that we ought to do good to all; and we ought 
not in doing so to think either of the temporal reward alone, or of that along with the 
kingdom of God: all which temporal things He has placed under the category of to-morrow, 
saying, “Take no thought for to-morrow.” 407 For to-morrow is not spoken of except in time, 
where the future succeeds the past. Therefore, when we do anything good, let us not think 
of what is temporal, but of what is eternal; then will that be a good and perfect work. “For 


406 Nor is it said, “Seek. . .in order that all these things may be added:” simply, “and all,” etc., yet largely in- 
clusive, — sanctity and comfort. The comfort follows naturally. The passage is a rebuke to those who condemn 
the amenities of life and art, and a caution to those who place these things before themselves as a chief end. The 
passage justifies the statement that religion (or godliness) is profitable for the life that now is. The Psalmist 
never saw the righteous forsaken. A traditional saying of Jesus, quoted by Clement, Origen, and Eusebius, runs, 
“Ask great things, and little things shall be added; ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added.” 

407 Cogitare in crastino-, Vulgate, solliciti esse in crastinum. There is no uniformity in Augustin’s or the 
Vulgate’s translation of the Greek pcpipvdw (“take anxious thought”) in this passage. 


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the morrow,” says He, “will be anxious for the things of itself;” 408 i.e., so that, when you 
ought, you will take food, or drink, or clothing, that is to say, when necessity itself begins 
to urge you. For these things will be within reach, because our Father knoweth that we have 
need of all these things. For “sufficient unto the day,” says He, “is the evil thereof;” 409 i.e. it 
is sufficient that necessity itself will urge us to take such things. And for this reason, I suppose, 
it is called evil, because for us it is penal: for it belongs to this frailty and mortality which 
we have earned by sinning. Do not add, therefore, to this punishment of temporal necessity 
anything more burdensome, so that you should not only suffer the want of such things, but 
should also for the purpose of satisfying this want enlist as a soldier for God. 

57. In the use of this passage, however, we must be very specially on our guard, lest 
perchance, when we see any servant of God making provision that such necessaries shall 
not be wanting either to himself or to those with whose care he has been entrusted, we 
should decide that he is acting contrary to the Lord’s precept, and is anxious for the mor- 
row. 410 For the Lord Himself also, although angels ministered to Him, 411 yet for the sake 
of example, that no one might afterwards be scandalized when he observed any of His servants 
procuring such necessaries, condescended to have moneybags, out of which whatever might 
be required for necessary uses might be provided; of which bags, as it is written, Judas, who 
betrayed Him, was the keeper and the thief. 412 In like manner, the Apostle Paul also may 
seem to have taken thought for the morrow, when he said: “Now concerning the collection 
for the saints, as I have given order to the saints of Galatia, even so do ye: upon the first day 
of the week let every one of you lay by him in store 413 what shall seem good unto him, that 
there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come 414 whomsoever ye shall approve by 


408 The morrow will bring its own vexations and anxieties. The English version entirely misleads as to the 
meaning of the special clause, “will take care of itself.” The Revised Version is a literal translation, and at least 
gives the true sense by implication. But with each day’s temptations and troubles, it is implied, special enablement 
and deliverance will be provided. 

409 Wiclif, following the Vulgate, translates malice ; Tyndale, trouble ; the Genevan Bible, grief. 

410 Our Lord’s precept is not against provident forethought, — of which Augustin goes on to give ex- 
amples, — but against anxious thought which implies distrust of God’s providence. Anxious, fretful, distrustful 
care for the future, unreliant upon God’s bounty, wisdom, and love (as implied in the address, your heavenly 
Father ) is declared to be unnecessary (25, 26), foolish (27-30), and heathenish (32, “After these things do the 
Gentiles seek”). The passages teach trust in God, who is more interested in His children than in the fowls of the 
air, and will certainly take care of them. 

411 Matt.iv.il. 

412 Johnxii. 6. 

413 Thesaurizatis; Vulgate, recondens. 

414 Advenero ; Vulgate, prcesensfuero. 


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your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that 
I go also, they shall go with me. Now I will come unto you when I shall pass through 
Macedonia: for I shall pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and 
winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see 
you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will tarry 
at Ephesus until Pentecost .” 415 In the Acts of the Apostles also it is written, that such things 
as are necessary for food were provided for the future, on account of an impending famine. 
For we thus read: “And in these days came prophets down from Jerusalem to Antioch , 416 
and there was great rejoicing. And when we were gathered together , 417 there stood up one 
of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth 
throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the dis- 
ciples, every one according to his ability, determined to send relief to the elders for the 

41 R 

brethren which dwelt in Judaea, which also they did by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” 
And in the case of the necessaries presented to him, wherewith the same Apostle Paul when 
setting sail was laden , 419 food seems to have been furnished for more than a single day. And 
when the same apostle writes, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, 
working 420 with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that 
needeth ;” 421 to those who misunderstand him he does not seem to keep the Lord’s precept, 
which runs, “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather 
into barns;” and, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do 
they spin;” while he enjoins the parties in question to labour, working with their hands, that 
they may have something which they may be able to give to others also. And in what he often 
says of himself, that he wrought with his hands that he might not be burdensome; and 
in what is written of him, that he joined himself to Aquila on account of the similarity of 
their occupation, in order that they might work together at that from which they might 
make a living; he does not seem to have imitated the birds of the air and the lilies of the 
field. From these and such like passages of Scripture, it is sufficiently apparent that our Lord 
does not disapprove of it, when one looks after such things in the ordinary way that men 


415 1 Cor. xvi. 1-8. 

416 Not in the original Greek or Vulgate, but implied in the preceding context. 

417 Not in the original Greek or Vulgate, but implied in the preceding context. 

418 Acts xi. 27-30. The clause shows much divergence from the Vulgate in construction. 

419 Acts xxviii. 10. 

420 Operans ; Vulgate, operando. 

421 Eph. iv. 28. Unde tribuere cui opus est ; Vulgate, unde tribuat necessitatem patienti. 

422 1 Thess. ii. 9; 2 Thess. iii. 8. 

423 Acts xviii. 2, 3. 


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do; but only when one enlists as a soldier of God for the sake of such things, so that in what 
he does he fixes his eye not on the kingdom of God, but on the acquisition of such things. 

58. Hence this whole precept is reduced to the following rule, that even in looking after 
such things we should think of the kingdom of God, but in the service of the kingdom of 
God we should not think of such things. For in this way, although they should sometimes 
be wanting (a thing which God often permits for the purpose of exercising us), they not 
only do not weaken our proposition, but even strengthen it, when it is examined and tested. 
For, says He, “we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and 
patience experience, and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love 
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 424 Now, in 
the mention of his tribulations and labours, the same apostle mentions that he has had to 
endure not only prisons and shipwrecks and many such like annoyances, but also hunger 
and thirst, cold and nakedness. 425 But when we read this, let us not imagine that the 
promises of God have wavered, so that the apostle suffered hunger and thirst and nakedness 
while seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God, although it is said to us, “Seek ye first 
the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you:” 
since that Physician to whom we have once for all entrusted ourselves wholly, and from 
whom we have the promise of life present and future, knows such things just as helps, when 
He sets them before us, when He takes them away, just as He judges it expedient for us; 
whom He rules and directs as parties who require both to be comforted and exercised in 
this life, and after this life to be established and confirmed in perpetual rest. For man also, 
when he frequently takes away the fodder from his beast of burden, is not depriving it of 
his care, but rather does what he is doing in the exercise of care. 


424 Rom. v. 3-5. 

425 2 Cor. xi. 23-27. 


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Chapter XVIII. 

59. And inasmuch as when such things are either provided against the time to come, 
or reserved, if there is no cause wherefore you should expend them, it is uncertain with what 
intention it is done, since it may be done with a single heart, and also with a double one, He 
has seasonably added in this passage: “Judge not, 426 that ye be not judged. 42 ' For with what 
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured 
to you again.” In this passage, I am of opinion that we are taught nothing else, but that in 
the case of those actions respecting which it is doubtful with what intention they are done, 
we are to put the better construction on them. For when it is written, “By their fruits ye shall 
know them,” the statement has reference to things which manifestly cannot be done with 
a good intention; such as debaucheries, or blasphemies, or thefts, or drunkenness, and all 
such things, of which we are permitted to judge, according to the apostle’s statement: “For 
what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are with- 
in?” 429 But concerning the kind of food, because every kind of human food can be taken 
indiscriminately with a good intention and a single heart, without the vice of concupiscence, 
the same apostle forbids that they who ate flesh and drank wine be judged by those who 
abstained from such kinds of sustenance: “Let not him that eateth,” says he, “despise him 
that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth.” There also he says: 
“Who art thou that judges another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or 
falleth.” 430 For in reference to such matters as can be done with a good and single and noble 
intention, although they may also be done with an intention the reverse of good, those 
parties wished, howbeit they were [mere] men, to pronounce judgment upon the secrets of 
the heart, of which God alone is Judge. 

60. To this category belongs also what he says in another passage: “Therefore judge 
nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things 
of darkness, and will make manifest the thoughts 431 of the hearts: and then shall every man 
have praise of God.” There are therefore certain ambiguous actions, respecting which 
we are ignorant with what intention they are performed, because they may be done both 
with a good or with an evil one, of which it is rash to judge, especially for the purpose of 


426 Sine scientia, amore , necessitate (“without knowledge, love, necessity.” — Bengel). The discussion is one 
of the most thorough and satisfactory sections of Augustin’s commentary. 

427 Judicetur de vobis. . .judicabitur ; Vulgat e,judicemini...judicabimini. 

428 Judicetur de vobis... judicabitur; Vulgate, judicemitii. . .judicabimini. 

429 1 Cor. v. 12. 

430 Rom. xiv. 3, 4. 

431 Cogitationes; Vulgate, consilia. 

432 1 Cor. iv. 5. 


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condemning. Now the time will come for these to be judged, when the Lord “will bring to 
light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” In 
another passage also the same apostle says: “Some men’s aims are manifest beforehand, 
going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” He calls those sins manifest, 
with regard to which it is clear with what intention they are done; these go before to j udgment, 
because if a judgment shall follow, it is not rash. But those which are concealed follow, because 
neither shall they remain hid in their own time. So we must understand with respect to good 
works also. For he adds to this effect: “Likewise also the good works of some are manifest 
beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” 4 ' 1 ' 1 Let us judge, therefore, with re- 
spect to those which are manifest; but respecting those which are concealed, let us leave the 
judgment to God: for they also cannot be hid, whether they be good or evil, when the time 
shall come for them to be manifested. 

61. There are two things, moreover, in which we ought to beware of rash judgment; 
when it is uncertain with what intention any thing is done; or when it is uncertain what sort 
of a person he is going to be, who at preset is manifestly either good or bad. If, therefore, 
any one, for example, complaining of his stomach, would not fast, and you, not believing 
this, were to attribute it to the vice of gluttony, you would judge rashly. Likewise, if you were 
to come to know the gluttony and drunkenness as being manifest, and were so to administer 
reproof as if the man could never be amended and changed, you would nevertheless judge 
rashly. Let us not therefore reprove those things about which we do not know with what 
intention they are done; nor let us so reprove those things which are manifest, as that we 
should despair of a return to a right state of mind; and thus we shall avoid the judgment of 
which in the present instance it is said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” 

62. But what He says may cause perplexity: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall 
be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Is it the case, 
then, that if we shall judge any thing with a rash judgment, God will also judge rashly with 
respect to us? or if we shall measure any thing with an unjust measure, is there with God 
also an unjust measure, according to which it shall be measured to us again? (for by the ex- 
pression measure also, I suppose the j udgment itself is meant.) By no means does God either 
judge rashly, or recompense to any one with an unjust measure; but it is so expressed, 
inasmuch as that very same rashness wherewith you punish another must necessarily punish 
yourself. Unless, perchance, it is to be imagined that injustice does harm in some way to 
him against whom it goes forth, but in no way to him from whom it goes forth; but nay, it 
often does no harm to him who suffers the injury, but it must necessarily do harm to him 
who inflicts it. For what harm did the injustice of the persecutors do to the martyrs? None; 
but very much to the persecutors themselves. For although some of them were turned from 


433 1 Tim. v. 24, 25. 


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the error of their ways, yet at the time at which they were acting as persecutors, their 
wickedness was blinding them. So also a rash judgment frequently does no harm to him 
who is the object of the rash judgment; but to him who judges rashly, the rashness itself 
must necessarily do harm. According to such a rule, I judge of that saying also: “Every one 
that strikes 434 with the sword shall perish with the sword .” 435 For how many take the sword, 
and yet do not perish with the sword, Peter himself being an instance! But lest any should 
think that he escaped such punishment by the pardon of his sins (although nothing could 
be more absurd than to think that the punishment of the sword, which did not befall Peter, 
could have been greater than that of the cross, which actually befell him), yet what would 
they say of the malefactors who were crucified with our Lord; for both he who got pardon, 
got it after he was crucified, and the other did not get it at all ? 436 Or had they perhaps cru- 
cified all whom they had slain; and did they therefore themselves too deserve to suffer the 
same thing? It is ridiculous to think so. For what else is meant by the statement, “For all 
they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” but that the soul dies by that very sin, 
whatever it may be, which it has committed? 


434 

435 


436 


Omnis qui percuss erit-, Vulgate, omnes qui acceperint. 
Matt. xxvi. 52. 

Luke xxiii. 33-43. 


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Chapter XIX. 

63. And inasmuch as the Lord is admonishing us in this passage with respect to rash 
and unjust judgment, — for He wishes that whatever we do, we should do it with a heart that 
is single and directed toward God alone; and inasmuch as, with respect to many things, it 
is uncertain with what intention they are done, regarding which it is rash to judge; inasmuch, 
moreover, as those parties especially judge rashly respecting things that are uncertain, and 
readily find fault, who love rather to censure and to condemn than to amend and to improve, 
which is a fault arising either from pride or from envy; therefore He has subjoined the 
statement: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest 
not the beam that is in thine own eye?” So that if perchance, for example, he has transgressed 
in anger, you should find fault in hatred; there being, as it were, as much difference between 
anger and hatred as between a mote and a beam. For hatred is inveterate anger, which, as 
it were simply by its long duration, has acquired so great strength as to be justly called a 
beam. Now, it may happen that, though you are angry with a man, you wish him to be 
turned from his error; but if you hate a man, you cannot wish to convert him. 

A'2'7 

64. “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; 
and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine 
own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye;” i.e., 
first cast the hatred away from thee, and then, but not before, shalt thou be able to amend 

too 

him whom thou lovest. And He well says, “Thou hypocrite.” For to make complaint 
against vices is the duty of good and benevolent men; and when bad men do it, they are 
acting a part which does not belong to them; just like hypocrites, who conceal under a mask 
what they are, and show themselves off in a mask what they are not. Under the designation 
hypocrites, therefore, you are to understand pretenders. And there is, in fact, a class of pre- 
tenders much to be guarded against, and troublesome, who, while they take up complaints 
against all kinds of faults from hatred and spite, also wish to appear counsellors. And 
therefore we must piously and cautiously watch, so that when necessity shall compel us to 
find fault with or rebuke any one, we may reflect first whether the fault is such as we have 
never had, or one from which we have now become free; and if we have never had it, let us 
reflect that we are men, and might have had it; but if we have had it, and are now free from 
it, let the common infirmity touch the memory, that not hatred but pity may go before that 
fault-finding or administering of rebuke: so that whether it shall serve for the conversion 
of him on whose account we do it, or for his perversion (for the issue is uncertain), we at 
least from the singleness of our eye may be free from care. If, however, on reflection, we 


437 The meaning is, how wilt thou have the effrontery to say, dare to say. The precept forbids all meddling, 
censoriousness, and captious faultfinding, and the spirit of slander, backbiting, calumny, etc. 

438 “Ere you remark another’s sin, Bid your own conscience look within.” — Cowper. 


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find ourselves involved in the same fault as he is whom we were preparing to censure, let 
us not censure nor rebuke; but yet let us mourn deeply over the case, and let us invite him 
not to obey us, but to join us in a common effort. 

65. For in regard also to what the apostle says, — “Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that 
I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (not being under the 
law), that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without 
law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that 
are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all 
things to all men, that I might gain all,” — he did not certainly so act in the way of pretence, 
as some wish it to be understood, in order that their detestable pretence may be fortified by 
the authority of so great an example; but he did so from love, under the influence of which 
he thought of the infirmity of him whom he wished to help as if it were his own. For this 
he also lays as the foundation beforehand, when he says: “For although I be free from all 
men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain 439 the more.” 440 And that 
you may understand this as being done not in pretence, but in love, under the influence of 
which we have compassion for men who are weak as if we were they, he thus admonishes 
us in another passage, saying, “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty 
for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” 441 And this cannot be done, 
unless each one reckon the infirmity of another as his own, so as to bear it with equanimity, 
until the party for whose welfare he is solicitous is freed from it. 

66. Rarely, therefore, and in a case of great necessity, are rebukes to be administered; 
yet in such a way that even in these very rebukes we may make it our earnest endeavour, 
not that we, but that God, should be served. For He, and none else, is the end: so that we 
are to do nothing with a double heart, removing from our own eye the beam of envy, or 
malice, or pretence, in order that we may see to cast the mote out of a brother’s eye. For we 
shall see it with the dove’s eyes, — such eyes as are declared to belong to the spouse of 
Christ, 442 whom God hath chosen for Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or 
wrinkle, 443 i.e. pure and guileless. 


439 Lucrifacerem; Vulgat e,facerem salvos. 

440 1 Cor. ix. 19-22. 

441 Gal. v. 13. 

442 Cant. iv. 1. 

Eph. v. 27. 


443 


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67. But inasmuch as the word “guileless” may mislead some who are desirous of obeying 
God’s precepts, so that they may think it wrong, at times, to conceal the truth, just as it is 
wrong at times to speak a falsehood, and inasmuch as in this way, — by disclosing things 
which the parties to whom they are disclosed are unable to bear, — they may do more harm 
than if they were to conceal them altogether and always, He very rightly adds: “Give not 
that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample 
them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” For the Lord Himself, although He 
never told a lie, yet showed that He was concealing certain truths, when He said, “I have yet 
many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” 444 And the Apostle Paul, too, 
says: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even 
as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were 
not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal.” 445 

68. Now, in this precept by which we are forbidden to give what is holy to the dogs, and 
to cast our pearls before swine, we must carefully require what is meant by holy, what by 
pearls, what by dogs, what by swine. A holy thing is something which it is impious to violate 
and to corrupt; and the very attempt and wish to commit that crime is held to be criminal, 
although that holy thing should remain in its nature inviolable and incorruptible. By pearls, 
again, are meant whatever spiritual things we ought to set a high value upon, both because 
they lie hid in a secret place, are as it were brought up out of the deep, and are found in 
wrappings of allegory, as it were in shells that have been opened. We may therefore legitim- 
ately understand that one and the same thing may be called both holy and a pearl: but it 
gets the name of holy for this reason, that it ought not to be corrupted; of a pearl for this 
reason, that it ought not to be despised. Every one, however, endeavours to corrupt what 
he does not wish to remain uninjured: but he despises what he thinks worthless, and reckons 
to be as it were beneath himself; and therefore whatever is despised is said to be trampled 
on. And hence, inasmuch as dogs spring at a thing in order to tear it in pieces, and do not 
allow what they are tearing in pieces to remain in its original condition, “Give not,” says 
He, “that which is holy unto the dogs:” for although it cannot be torn in pieces and corrupted, 
and remains unharmed and inviolable, yet we must think of what is the wish of those parties 
who bitterly and in a most unfriendly spirit resist, and, as far as in them lies, endeavour, if 
it were possible, to destroy the truth. But swine, although they do not, like dogs, fall upon 
an object with their teeth, yet by recklessly trampling on it defile it: “Do not therefore cast 
your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend 


444 John xvi. 12. 

445 1 Cor. iii. 1, 2. 


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you.” We may therefore not unsuitably understand dogs as used to designate the assailants 
of the truth, swine the despisers of it. 

69. But when He says, “they turn again and rend you,” He does not say, they rend the 
pearls themselves. For by trampling on them, just when they turn in order that they may 
hear something more, they yet rend him by whom the pearls have just been cast before them 
which they have trampled on. For you would not easily find out what pleasure the man 
could have who has trampled pearls under foot, i.e. has despised divine things whose dis- 
covery is the result of great labour. But in regard to him who teaches such parties, I do not 
see how he would escape being rent in pieces through their anger and wrathfulness. Moreover, 
both animals are unclean, the dog as well as the swine. We must therefore be on our guard, 
lest anything should be opened up to him who does not receive it: for it is better that he 
should seek for what is hidden, than that he should either attack or slight at what is open. 
Neither, in fact, is any other cause found why they do not receive those things which are 
manifest and of importance, except hatred and contempt, the one of which gets them the 
name of dogs, the other that of swine. And all this impurity is generated by the love of 
temporal things, i.e. by the love of this world, which we are commanded to renounce, in 
order that we may be able to be pure. The man, therefore, who desires to have a pure and 
single heart, ought not to appear to himself blameworthy, if he conceals anything from him 
who is unable to receive it. Nor is it to be supposed from this that it is allowable to he: for 
it does not follow that when truth is concealed, falsehood is uttered. Hence, steps are to be 
taken first, that the hindrances which prevent his receiving it may be removed; for certainly 
if pollution is the reason he does not receive it, he is to be cleansed either by word or by 
deed, as far as we can possibly do it. 

70. Then, further, when our Lord is found to have made certain statements which many 
who were present did not accept, but either resisted or despised, He is not to be thought to 
have given that which is holy to the dogs, or to have cast pearls before swine: for He did not 
give such things to those who were not able to receive them, but to those who were able, 
and were at the same time present; whom it was not meet that He should neglect on account 
of the impurity of others. And when tempters put questions to Him, and He answered them, 
so that they might have nothing to gainsay, although they might pine away from the effects 
of their own poisons, rather than be filled with His food, yet others, who were able to receive 
His teaching, heard to their profit many things in consequence of the opportunity created 
by these parties. I have said this, lest any one, perhaps, when he is not able to reply to one 
who puts a question to him, should seem to himself excused, if he should say that he is un- 
willing to give that which is holy to the dogs, or to cast pearls before swine. For he who 
knows what to answer ought to do it, even for the sake of others, in whose minds despair 
arises, if they believe that the question proposed cannot be answered: and this in reference 
to matters that are useful, and that belong to saving instruction. For many things which 


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may be the subject of inquiry on the part of idle people are needless and vain, and often 
hurtful, respecting which, however, something must be said; but this very point is to be 
opened up and explained, viz. why such things ought not to form the subject of inquiry. In 
reference, therefore, to things that are useful, we ought sometimes to give a reply to what is 
asked of us: just as the Lord did, when the Sadducees had asked Him about the woman who 
had seven husbands, to which of them she would belong in the resurrection. For He answered 
that in the resurrection they will neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but will be as the 
angels in heaven. But sometimes, he who asks is to be asked something else, by telling which 
he would answer himself as to the matter he asked about; but if he should refuse to make a 
statement, it would not seem to those who are present unfair, if he himself should not hear 
anything as to the matter he inquired about. For those who put the question, tempting Him, 
whether tribute was to be paid, were asked another question, viz. whose image the money 
bore which was brought forward by themselves; and because they told what they had been 
asked, i.e. that the money bore the image of Caesar, they gave a kind of answer to themselves 
in reference to the question they had asked the Lord: and accordingly from their answer He 
drew this inference, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto 
God the things that are God’s .” 446 When, however, the chief priests and elders of the people 
had asked by what authority He was doing those things, He asked them about the baptism 
of John: and when they would not make a statement which they saw to be against themselves, 
and yet would not venture to say anything bad about John, on account of the bystanders, 
“Neither tell I you,” says He, “by what authority I do these things ;” 447 a refusal which ap- 
peared most just to the bystanders. For they said they were ignorant of that which they really 
knew, but did not wish to tell. And, in truth, it was right that they who wished to have an 
answer to what they asked, should themselves first do what they required to be done toward 
them; and if they had done this, they would certainly have answered themselves. For they 
themselves had sent to John, asking who he was; or rather they themselves, being priests 
and Levites, had been sent, supposing that he was the very Christ, but he said that he was 
not, and gave forth a testimony concerning the Lord : 448 a testimony respecting which if 
they chose to make a confession, they would teach themselves by what authority as the 
Christ He was doing those things; which as if ignorant of they had asked, in order that they 
might find an avenue for calumny. 


446 Matt. xxii. 15-34. 

447 Chap. xxi. 23-27. 

448 John i. 19-27. 

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Chapter XXI. 

71. Since, therefore, a command had been given that what is holy should not be given 
to dogs, and pearls should not be cast before swine, a hearer might object and say, conscious 
of his own ignorance and weakness, and hearing a command addressed to him, that he 
should not give what he felt that he himself had not yet received, — might (I say) object and 
say, What holy thing do you forbid me to give to the dogs, and what pearls do you forbid 
me to cast before swine, while as yet I do not see that I possess such things? Most opportunely 
He has added the statement: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, 
and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh 
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” The asking refers to the obtaining by 
request soundness and strength of mind, so that we may be able to discharge those duties 
which are commanded; the seeking, on the other hand, refers to the finding of the truth. 
For inasmuch as the blessed life is summed up in action and knowledge, action wishes for 
itself a supply of strength, contemplation desiderates that matters should be made clear: of 
these therefore the first is to be asked, the second is to be sought; so that the one may be 
given, the other found. But knowledge in this life belongs rather to the way than to the 
possession itself: but whoever has found the true way, will arrive at the possession itself 
which, however, is opened to him that knocks. 

72. In order, therefore, that these three things — viz. asking, seeking, knocking — maybe 
made clear, let us suppose, for example, the case of one weak in his limbs, who cannot walk: 
in the first place, he is to be healed and strengthened so as to be able to walk; and to this 
refers the expression He has used, “Ask.” But what advantage is it that he is now able to 
walk, or even run, if he should go astray by devious paths? A second thing therefore is, that 
he should find the road that leads to the place at which he wishes to arrive; and when he has 
kept that road, and arrived at the very place where he wishes to dwell, if he find it closed, it 
will be of no use either that he has been able to walk, or that he has walked and arrived, 
unless it be opened to him; to this, therefore, the expression refers which has been used, 
“Knock.” 

73. Moreover, great hope has been given, and is given, by Him who does not deceive 
when He promises: for He says, “Every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, find- 
eth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Hence there is need of perseverance, in 
order that we may receive what we ask, and find what we seek, and that what we knock at 
may be opened. 449 Now, just as He talked of the fowls of heaven and of the lilies of the field, 
that we might not despair of food and clothing being provided for us, so that our hopes 
might rise from lesser things to greater; so also in this passage, “Or what man is there of 


449 The conditions of effective prayer are, that it should be made in the name of Christ (John xv. 16), with 
faith, and according to God’s will (1 John v. 14). 


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you,” says He, “whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will 
he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, 
how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask 
Him?” How do the evil give good things? Now, He has called those evil 450 who are as yet 
the lovers of this world and sinners. And, in fact, the good things are to be called good ac- 
cording to their feeling, because they reckon these to be good things. Although in the nature 
of things also such things are good, but temporal, and pertaining to this feeble life: and 
whoever that is evil gives them, does not give of his own; for the earth is the Lord’s, and the 
fulness thereof , 451 who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is 452 How 
much reason, therefore, there is for the hope that God will give us good things when we ask 
Him, and that we cannot be deceived, so that we should get one thing instead of another, 
when we ask Him; since we even, although we are evil, know how to give that for which we 
are asked? For we do not deceive our children; and whatever good things we give are not 
given of our own, but of what is His. 


450 This has been regarded as a strong proof-text for the doctrine of original sin. Bengel calls it “a shining 
testimony for original sin.” Stier says it is “the strongest proof- text for original sin in the whole of the Holy 
Scriptures.” Meyer says the reference is to actual sin; while Plumptre declares that “the words at once recognise 
the fact of man’s depravity, and assert that it is not total.” 

451 Ps. xxiv. 1. 

452 Ps. cxlvi. 6. 


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Chapter XXII. 

74. Moreover, a certain strength and vigour in walking along the path of wisdom ties 
in good morals, which are made to extend as far as to purification and singleness of heart, — a 
subject on which He has now been speaking long, and thus concludes: “Therefore all good 453 
things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is 
the law and the prophets.” In the Greek copies we find the passage runs thus: “Therefore 
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” But I 
think the word “good” has been added by the Latins to make the sentence clear. For the 
thought occurred, that if any one should wish something wicked to be done to him, and 
should refer this clause to that, — as, for instance, if one should wish to be challenged to 
drink immoderately, and to get drunk over his cups, and should first do this to the party by 
whom he wishes it to be done to himself, — it would be ridiculous to imagine that he had 
fulfilled this clause. Inasmuch, therefore, as they were influenced by this consideration, as 
I suppose, one word was added to make the matter clear; so that in the statement, “Therefore 
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,” there was inserted the word 
“good.” But if this is wanting in the Greek copies, they also ought to be corrected: but who 
would venture to do this? It is to be understood, therefore, that the clause is complete and 
altogether perfect, even if this word be not added. For the expression used, “whatsoever ye 
would,” ought to be understood as used not in a customary and random, but in a strict sense. 
For there is no will except in the good: for in the case of bad and wicked deeds, desire is 
strictly spoken of, not will. Not that the Scriptures always speak in a strict sense; but where 
it is necessary, they so keep a word to its perfectly strict meaning, that they do not allow 
anything else to be understood. 

75. Moreover, this precept seems to refer to the love of our neighbour, and not to the 
love of God also, seeing that in another passage He says that there are two precepts on which 
“hang all the law and the prophets.” For if He had said, All things whatsoever ye would 
should be done to you, do ye even so; in this one sentence He would have embraced both 
those precepts: for it would soon be said that every one wishes that he himself should be 
loved both by God and by men; and so, when this precept was given to him, that what he 
wished done to himself he should himself do, that certainly would be equivalent to the precept 
that he should love God and men. But when it is said more expressly of men, “Therefore all 
things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” nothing 
else seems to be meant than, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” 454 But we must 


453 Bona; the Vulgate does not contain it. 

454 The nearest approach that any uninspired Jewish teacher came to the Golden Rule — the designation by 
which these words are known — was the saying of Hillel, “What is unpleasant to thyself, do not to thy neighbour. 
This is the whole law, and all the rest is commentary upon it.” Beautiful as the saying is, it falls behind Christ’s 


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carefully attend to what He has added here: “for this is the law and the prophets.” Now, in 
the case of these two precepts, He not merely says, The law and the prophets hang; but He 
has also added, “all the law and the prophets,” 455 which is the same as the whole of prophecy: 
and in not making the same addition here, He has kept a place for the other precept, which 
refers to the love of God. Here, then, inasmuch as He is following out the precepts with re- 
spect to a single heart, and it is to be dreaded lest any one should have a double heart toward 
those from whom the heart can be hid, i.e. toward men, a precept with respect to that very 
thing was to be given. For there is almost nobody that would wish that any one of double 
heart should have dealings with himself. But no one can bestow anything upon a fellowman 
with a single heart, unless he so bestow it that he expects no temporal advantage from him, 
and does it with the intention which we have sufficiently discussed above, when we were 
speaking of the single eye. 

76. The eye, therefore, being cleansed and rendered single, will be adapted and suited 
to behold and contemplate its own inner light. For the eye in question is the eye of the heart. 
Now, such an eye is possessed by him who, in order that his works maybe truly good, does 
not make it the aim of his good works that he should please men; but even if it should turn 
out that he pleases them, he makes this tend rather to their salvation and to the glory of 
God, not to his own empty boasting; nor does he do anything that is good tending to his 
neighbour’s salvation for the purpose of gaining by it those things that are necessary for 
getting through this present life; nor does he rashly condemn a man’s intention and wish 
in that action in which it is not apparent with what intention and wish it has been done; 
and whatever kindnesses he shows to a man, he shows them with the same intention with 
which he wishes them shown to himself, viz. as not expecting any temporal advantage from 
him: thus will the heart be single and pure in which God is sought. “Blessed,” therefore, “are 
the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” 456 


words, because it is merely negative, while they are a positive requirement. The Stoics and the Chinese ethics 
also have a similar negative precept. It is strange that the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (i. 2) gives the negative 
form, and not the positive precept. Augustin says we ought to be glad when writers before Christ spoke things 
in the Gospel ( En . in Ps. cxl. 6). 

455 Matt. xxii. 37-40. 


456 Matt. v. 8. 


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Chapter XXIII. 

77. But because this belongs to few, He now begins to speak of searching for and pos- 
sessing wisdom, which is a tree of life; and certainly, in searching for and possessing, i.e. 
contemplating this wisdom, such an eye is led through all that precedes to a point where 
there may now be seen the narrow way and the strait gate. When, therefore, He says in 
continuation, “Enter ye 457 in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, 
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, 
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; He does not 
say so for this reason, that the Lord’s yoke is rough, or His burden heavy; but because few 
are willing to bring their labours to an end, giving too little credit to Him who cries, “Come 
unto me, all ye that labour, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of 
me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: for my yoke is easy, 459 and my burden 460 is light” 461 
(hence, moreover, the sermon before us took as its starting-point the lowly and meek in 
heart): and this easy yoke and light burden which many spurn, few submit to; and on that 
account the way becomes narrow which leadeth unto life, and the gate strait by which it is 
entered. 


457 Introite ; Vulgate, intrate. 

458 The narrowness of the way is taken to represent the self-denial and hardships of disciples (Meyer, Mansel, 
etc.), or righteousness (Bengel, Schaff, etc.). “The picture is a dark one, and yet it represents but too faithfully 
the impression made, I do not say on Calvinist or true Christian, but on any ethical teacher, by the actual state 
of mankind around us. If there is any wider hope, it is found in hints and suggestions of the possibilities of the 
future (1 Pet. iii. 19, iv. 6),” etc. ( Plumptre). 

459 Lene.. .sarcina; Vulgate, suave. ..onus. 

460 Lene... sarcina; Vulgate, suave. ..onus. 

461 Matt. xi. 28-30. 


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Chapter XXIV. 

78. Here, therefore, those who promise a wisdom and a knowledge of the truth which 
they do not possess, are especially to be guarded against; as, for instance, heretics, who fre- 
quently commend themselves on account of their fewness. And hence, when He had said 
that there are few who find the strait gate and the narrow way, lest they [the heretics] should 
falsely substitute themselves under the pretext of their fewness, He immediately added, 
“Beware of false prophets, 462 which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are 
ravening wolves.” But such parties do not deceive the single eye, which knows how to dis- 
tinguish a tree by its fruits. For He says: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Then He adds 
the similitudes: “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good 
tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot 
bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brin- 
geth not forth good fruit 463 is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits 
ye shall know them.” 

79. And in [the interpretation of] this passage we must be very much on our guard 
against the error of those who judge from these same two trees that there are two original 
natures, the one of which belongs to God, but the other neither belongs to God nor springs 
from Him. And this error has both been already discussed in other books [of ours] 464 very 
copiously, and if that is still too little, will be discussed again; but at present we have merely 
to show that the two trees before us do not help them. In the first place, because it is so clear 
that He is speaking of men, that whoever reads what goes before and what follows will 
wonder at their blindness. Secondly, they fix their attention on what is said, “A good tree 
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,” and therefore 
think that neither can it happen that an evil soul should be changed into something better, 
nor a good one into something worse; as if it were said, A good tree cannot become evil, 
nor an evil tree good. But it is said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a 
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” For the tree is certainly the soul itself, i.e. the man 
himself, but the fruits are the works of the man; an evil man, therefore, cannot perform 
good works, nor a good man evil works. If an evil man, therefore, wishes to perform good 
works, let him first become good. So the Lord Himself says in another passage more plainly: 
“Either make the tree good, or make the tree bad.” But if He were figuratively representing 
the two natures of such parties by these two trees, He would not say, “Make:” for who of 


462 Cavete a pseudoprophetis; Vulgate, attendite afalsis prophetis. 

463 Excellency of fruitage is sanctity of life {Bonitas fructuum est sanctitas vitce (Bengel). 

464 More particularly his works against the Manichseans, Contra Faustum Manichceum, etc. Augustin also 
made much use of this passage against the Pelagians, to show that the will must be aided to produce good 
thoughts and deeds; that the unregenerate man is incapable of restoring himself. 


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the sons of men can make a nature? Then also in that passage, when He had made mention 
of these two trees, He added, “Ye hypocrites, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” 465 
As long, therefore, as any one is evil, he cannot bring forth good fruits; for if he were to 
bring forth good fruits, he would no longer be evil. So it might most truly have been said, 
snow cannot be warm; for when it begins to be warm, we no longer call it snow, but water. 
It may therefore come about, that what was snow is no longer so; but it cannot happen that 
snow should be warm. So it may come about, that he who was evil is no longer evil; it cannot, 
however, happen that an evil man should do good. And although he is sometimes useful, 
this is not the man’s own doing; but it is done through him, in virtue of the arrangements 
of divine providence: as, for instance, it is said of the Pharisees, “What they bid you, do; but 
what they do, do not consent to do.” This very circumstance, that they spoke things that 
were good, and that the things which they spoke were usefully listened to and done, was not 
a matter belonging to them: for, says He, “they sit in Moses’ seat.” 466 It was, therefore, when 
engaged through divine providence in preaching the law of God, that they were able to be 
useful to their hearers, although they were not so to themselves. Respecting such it is said 
in another place by the prophet, “They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns;” 467 because 
they teach what is good, and do what is evil. Those, therefore, who listened to them, and 
did what was said by them, did not gather grapes of thorns, but through the thorns gathered 
grapes of the vine: just as, were any one to thrust his hand through a hedge, or were at least 
to gather a grape from a vine which was entangled in a hedge, that would not be the fruit 
of the thorns, but of the vine. 

80. The question, indeed, is most rightly put, What are the fruits He would wish us to 
attend to, whereby we might know the tree? For many reckon among the fruits certain things 
which belong to the sheep’s clothing, and in this way are deceived by wolves: as, for instance, 
either fastings, or prayers, or almsgivings; but unless all of these things could be done even 
by hypocrites, He would not say above, “T ake heed that ye do not your righteousness before 
men, to be seen of them.” And after prefixing this sentence, He goes on to speak of those 
very three things, almsgiving, prayer, fasting. For many give largely to the poor, not from 
compassion, but from vanity; and many pray, or rather seem to pray, while not keeping 
God in view, but desiring to please men; and many fast, and make a wonderful show of ab- 
stinence before those to whom such things appear difficult, and by whom they are reckoned 
worthy of honour: and catch them with artifices of this sort, while they hold up to view one 
thing for the purpose of deceiving, and put forth another for the purpose of preying upon 
or killing those who cannot see the wolves under that sheep’s clothing. These, therefore, are 


465 Matt. xii. 33, 34. 

466 Matt, xxiii. 3, 2. 

467 Jer. xii. 13. 

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not the fruits by which He admonishes us that the tree is known. For such things, when they 
are done with a good intention in sincerity, are the appropriate clothing of sheep; but when 
they are done in wicked deception, they cover nothing else but wolves. But the sheep ought 
not on this account to hate their own clothing, because the wolves often conceal themselves 
therein. 

81. What the fruits are by the finding of which we may know an evil tree, the apostle 
tells us: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adulteries, fornications, 
uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatreds, variances, emulations, wrath, strife, 
seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which 
I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall 
not inherit the kingdom of God.” And what the fruits are by which we may know a good 
tree, the very same apostle goes on to tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” It must be known, 
indeed, that “joy” stands here in a strict and proper sense; for bad men are, strictly speaking, 
not said to rejoice, but to make extravagant demonstrations of joy: just as we have said 
above, that “will” which the wicked do not possess, stands in a strict sense where it is said, 
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” In ac- 
cordance with that strict sense of the word, in virtue of which joy is spoken of only in the 
good, the prophet also speaks, saying: “Rejoicing is not for the wicked, saith the Lord.” 469 
So also “faith” stands, not certainly as meaning any kind of it, but true faith: and the other 
things which find a place here have certain resemblances of their own in bad men and de- 
ceivers; so that they entirely mislead, unless one has the pure and single eye by which he 
may know such things. It is accordingly the best arrangement, that the cleansing of the eye 
is first discussed, and then mention is made of what things were to be guarded against. 


468 Gal. v. 19-23. 

469 Isa. lvii. 21, according to the Septuagint. 


148 


Chapter XXV 


Chapter XXV. 

82. But seeing that, however pure an eye one may have, i.e. with however single and 
sincere a heart one may live, he yet cannot look into the heart of another: whatever things 
could not have become apparent in deeds or words, are disclosed by trials. Now trial is 
twofold; either in the hope of obtaining some temporal advantage, or in the terror of losing 
it. And especially must we be on our guard, lest, when striving after wisdom, which can be 
found in Christ alone, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; 470 — we 
must be on our guard, I say, lest, under the very name of Christ, we be deceived by heretics, 
or by any parties whatever defective in intelligence, and lovers of this world. For on this 
account He adds a warning, saying, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, 471 shall 
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven, 
he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven:” lest we should think that the mere fact of one 
saying to our Lord, “Lord, Lord,” belongs to those fruits; and from that he should seem to 
us to be a good tree. But those are the fruits, to do the will of the Father who is in heaven, 
in the doing of which He has condescended to exhibit Himself as an example. 

83. But the question may fairly be started, how with this sentence the statement of the 

apostle is to be reconciled, where he says, “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth 
Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost:” for 
neither can we say that any who have the Holy Spirit will not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, if they persevere onwards to the end; nor can we affirm that those who say, “Lord, 
Lord,” and yet do not enter into the kingdom of heaven, have the Holy Spirit. How then 
does no one say “that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” unless it is because the 
apostle has used the word “say” here in a strict and proper sense, so that it implies the will 
and understanding of him who says? But the Lord has used the word which He employs in 
a general sense: “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom 
of heaven.” For he also who neither wishes nor understands what he says, seems to say it; 
but he properly says it, who gives expression to his will and mind by the sound of his voice: 
just as, a little before, what is called “joy” among the fruits of the Spirit is called so in a strict 
and proper sense, not in the way in which the same apostle elsewhere uses the expression, 
“Rejoiceth not in iniquity:” as if any one could rejoice in iniquity: for that transport of a 

mind making confused and boisterous demonstrations of joy is not joy; for this latter is 
possessed by the good alone. Hence those also seem to say it, who neither perceive with the 


470 Col. ii. 3. 

471 Many called Him Lord, but He never called any one Lord ( ipsum multi, etiam amplissimi viri, — ipse 
neminem nePilatum quidem, dominum vocavit. — Bengel). 

472 1 Cor. xii. 3. 

473 1 Cor. xiii. 6. 


149 


Chapter XXV 


understanding nor engage with the deliberate consent of the will in this which they utter, 
but utter it with the voice merely; and after this manner the Lord says, “Not every one that 
saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” But truly and properly 
those parties say it whose utterance in speech really represents their will and intention; and 
it is in accordance with this signification that the apostle has said, “No one can say that Jesus 
is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 

84. And besides, it belongs especially to the matter in hand, that, in striving after the 
contemplation of the truth, we should not only not be deceived by the name of Christ, by 
means of those who have the name and have not the deeds; but also not by certain deeds 
and miracles, for when the Lord performed of the same kind for the sake of unbelievers, He 
has warned us not to be deceived by such things, thinking that an invisible wisdom is present 
where we see a visible miracle. Hence He annexes the statement: “Many will say to Me on 
that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out 
devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say 474 unto them, I 
never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” He will not, therefore, recognise 
any but the man that worketh righteousness. For He forbade also His own disciples them- 
selves to rejoice in such things, viz. that the spirits were subject unto them: “But rejoice,” 
says He, “because your names are written in heaven;” 4 ' 5 I suppose, in that city of Jerusalem 
which is in heaven, in which only the righteous and holy shall reign. “Know ye not,” says 
the apostle, “that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” 476 

85. But perhaps some one may say that the unrighteous cannot perform those visible 
miracles, and may believe rather that those parties are telling a he, who will be found saying, 
“We have prophesied in Thy name, and have cast out devils in Thy name, and have done 
many wonderful works.” Let him therefore read what great things the magi of the Egyptians 
did who resisted Moses, the servant of God; or if he will not read this, because they did 
not do them in the name of Christ, let him read what the Lord Himself says of the false 
prophets, speaking thus: “Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; 
believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great 
signs and wonders, insomuch that the very elect shall be deceived. Behold, I have told 
you before.” 479 


474 Dicam; Vulgate, confitebor; Greek, 6poAr>Yn ow - Meyer says, “It is the conscious dignity of the future 
Judge of the world.” Bengel calls attention to the great power of the word ( magna potestas hujus dicti). In this 
action Christ lays the most confident claim to functions not imparted to any human being. 

475 Luke x. 20. 

476 1 Cor. vi. 9. 

477 Exod. vii. and viii. 

478 Inducantur etiam electi; Vulgate, inducantur , si fieri potest, etiam electi. 

Matt. xxiv. 23-25. 


479 


150 


Chapter XXV 


86. How much need, therefore, is there of the pure and single eye, in order that the way 
of wisdom maybe found, against which there is the clamour of so great deceptions and errors 
on the part of wicked and perverse men, to escape from all of which is indeed to arrive at 
the most certain peace, and the immoveable stability of wisdom! For it is greatly to be feared, 
lest, by eagerness in quarrelling and controversy, one should not see what can be seen by 
few, that small is the disturbance of gainsayers, unless one also disturbs himself. And in this 
direction, too, runs that statement of the apostle: “And the servant of the Lord must not 
strive; but be gentle 480 unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those 
that think differently; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging 
of the truth.” “Blessed,” therefore, “are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the 
children of God.” 483 

87. Hence we must take special notice how terribly the conclusion of the whole sermon 
is introduced: “Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, is 
like 484 unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock.” For no one confirms what 
he hears or understands, unless by doing. And if Christ is the rock, as many Scripture testi- 
monies proclaim that man builds in Christ who does what he hears from Him. “The rain 
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it 
fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Such an one, therefore, is not afraid of any gloomy 
superstitions (for what else is understood by rain, when it is put in the sense of anything 
bad?), or of turnouts of men, which I think are compared to winds; or of the river of this 
life, as it were flowing over the earth in carnal lusts. For it is the man who is seduced by the 
prosperity that is broken down by the adversities arising from these three things; none of 
which is feared by him who has his house founded upon a rock, i.e. who not only hears, but 
also does, the Lord’s commands. And the man who hears and does them not is in dangerous 
proximity to all these, for he has no stable foundation; but by hearing and not doing, he 
builds a ruin. For He goes on to say: “And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and 

487 

doeth them not, shall be like unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 

488 

and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that 



480 Mitem...diversa sentientes; Vulgate, mansuetum. . .resistunt veritati. 

481 Mitem...diversa sentientes ; Vulgate, mansuetum. . .resistunt veritati. 

482 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. 

483 Matt. v. 9. 

484 Similis est...; Vulgate, assimilabitur. Meyer, Tholuck, etc, refer this to the future judgment, “I will make 
him like,” etc., when Christ will establish those who keep His sayings for ever (opposed by Alford etc.). 

485 1 Cor. x. 4. So Alford, who thinks this signification too plain to be overlooked. 

486 Offenderunt; Vulgate, irruerunt. 

487 The transitory teachings and institutions of men as opposed to Christ’s own word. 

488 Offenderunt-, Vulgate, irruerunt. 


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Chapter XXV 


house; and it fell: and great was 489 the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended 
these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having 
authority, and not as their scribes .” 490 This is what I said before was meant by the prophet 
in the Psalms, when he says: “I will act confidently in regard of him. The words of the Lord 
are pure words: as silver tried and proved in a furnace of earth, purified seven times .” 491 
And from this number, I am admonished to trace back those precepts also to the seven 
sentences which He has placed in the beginning of this sermon, when He was speaking of 
those who are blessed; and to those seven operations of the Holy Spirit, which the prophet 
Isaiah mentions ; 492 but whether the order before us, or some other, is to be considered in 
these, the things we have heard from the Lord are to be done, if we wish to build upon a 
rock. 


489 Facta est\ Vulgate, fuit. 

490 Vulgate adds et Phariscei. The people were astonished, not merely at His teachings, but the dignity and 
self-consciousness with which Christ uttered them, quod nova qucedam majestas et insueta hominum mentes 
ad se raperet (Calvin). The Scribes spoke as expounders of the law, and referred back to Moses for their authority; 
Christ spoke in His own name, and as an independent legislator, vested with greater authority than Moses and 
a higher dignity. The Scribes by elaborate sophistry often drew many meanings from a single precept, and 
burdened the people with an intricate and endless variety of precepts for the details of conduct, laying painful 
stress upon their observance; Christ directed attention from outward acts to the motive and intent of the heart. 
“He opposed a genuine righteousness to the mock righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees.” 

491 Ps. xii. 5, 6. 

492 Isa. xi. 2, 3. 


152 


The Harmony of the Gospels. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

IN 

65 

THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS 


TRANSLATED BY 

THE REV. S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D., 

FREE COLLEGE, ABERDEEN 


EDITED, WITH NOTES AND INTRODUCTION, BY 

THE REV. M. B. RIDDLE, D.D., 

PROFESSOR OF NEW- TESTAMENT EXEGESIS, WESTERN THEOLOGICAL 
SEMINARY, ALLEGHENY, PA. 


153 



Introductory Essay. 


INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

BY PROFESSOR M. B. RIDDLE, D.D. 



The treatise of Augustin On the Harmony of the Evangelists ( De Consensu Evangelistar- 
um) is regarded as the most laborious task undertaken by the great African Father. But its 
influence has been much less obvious than that of his strictly exegetical and doctrinal works. 
Dr. Salmond, in his Introductory Notice, gives a discriminating and just estimate of it. 
Jerome was, in some respects, far better equipped for such a task than Augustin; yet one 
cannot study this work, bearing in mind the hermeneutical tendencies of the fourth century, 
without having an increased respect for the ability, candour, and insight of the great theolo- 
gian when engaged in labours requiring linguistic knowledge, which he did not possess. 
Despite his ignorance of the correct text in many difficult passages, his lack of familiarity 
with the Greek original, many of his explanations have stood the test of time, finding accept- 
ance even among the exegetes of this age. 

Most modern Harmonies give indications of the abiding influence of the work. Yet the 
treatise itself has not called forth extended comments. From its character it directs attention 
to the problems it discusses rather than to its own solutions of them. Hence the difficulty 
of presenting an adequate Bibliographical Fist in connection with this work. All Gospel 
Harmonies, all Fives of Christ, all discussions of the apparent discrepancies of the Gospels, 
stand related to it. As a complete list was out of the question, it seemed fitting to preface 
this edition of the work with a few general statements in regard to Harmonies of the Gospels. 

The early date of the oldest work of this character, before A.D. 170 (see below), attests 
the genuineness of our four canonical Gospels, by proving that they, and they only, were 
generally accepted at that time. But it also shows that the existence of four Gospels, recognised 
as genuine and authoritative, naturally calls forth harmonistic efforts. Two questions confront 
every intelligent reader of these four Gospels: (1) In view of the variation in the order of 
events as narrated by the different evangelists, what is the more probable chronological order? 
(2) In view of the variation in details, what is, in each case, the correct explanation of such 
variations? These problems are largely exegetical; but those of the former class soon lead to 
the historical method of treatment, while those of the latter class lead to apologetic discus- 
sions, when apparent discrepancies are discovered. The work of Augustin deals more largely 
with the latter; more recent Harmonies lay greater stress upon the historical and chronolo- 
gical questions. The methods represent the tendencies of the age to which they respectively 
belong. The historical method is doubtless the more correct one; but, when it assumes the 
extreme form of destructive criticism, it denies the possibility of harmony. On the other 
hand, the apologetic method, when linked with a mechanical view of inspiration, too often 


154 



Introductory Essay. 


adopts interpretations that are ungrammatical, in order to ignore the necessity of harmon- 
izing differences. The true position lies between these extremes: the grammatico-historical 
sense must be accepted; the correct text of each Gospel must be determined, independently 
of verbal variations; the truthfulness of each evangelist must be assumed, until positive error 
is proven; the more definite statements are to be used in explaining the less definite; the 
characteristics of each evangelist must be given their proper weight in determining the 
probabilities of greater or less accuracy of detail. 

But the necessary limitations of harmonistic methods should be fully recognised. Abso- 
lute certainty is often impossible: there will always be room for difference of judgment. For 
example, there is to-day as little agreement as ever in regard to the length of our Lord’s 
ministry; i.e., whether the Evangelist John refers to three or four passovers. The Tripaschal 
and Quadripaschal theories still divide scholars, as in past ages of the Church. 

Still, the progress made in textual criticism has, by indicating more positively the exact 
words of all four accounts, laid the foundation for better results in harmonistic labours. 

One great advantage of a Harmony, as now constructed, with the text of the evangelists 
in parallel columns, or in independent sections when the matter is peculiar to one of them, 
is the emphasis it gives to the historical sequence. The movement of the evangelical narrative 
is made more apparent; the relations of the events shed light upon the entire story; the 
purpose of discourses and journeys appears; the training of the Twelve can be better studied; 
the emphasis placed upon the closing events of our Lord’s life on earth is made more obvious. 
A comparison of the several accounts gives to the events new significance, often reveals 
minute and undesigned coincidences which attest the truthfulness of all the narrators. Now 
that the attempt to secure mechanical uniformity in the narratives has been universally re- 
jected by scholars, another advantage of a Harmony is seen to be this: that it sets forth most 
strikingly the verbal differences and correspondences of the parallel passages. Only by a 
minute comparison of these can we discover the data for a settlement of the problem respect- 
ing the origin and relation of the Synoptic Gospels . 493 

The dangers attending harmonistic methods are obvious enough, and appeared very 
early. The tendency has been to create a rigid verbal uniformity. Hence the peculiarities of 
the several evangelists are obscured; the text of one is, consciously or unconsciously, con- 
formed to that of another. The Gospel of Mark, the most individual and striking of the 
Synoptics, probably the oldest, has been repeatedly altered to correspond with that of Mat- 



493 The writer may be pardoned for alluding to his own experience in connection with this point. In the 
exegetical labours of some years, he found himself accepting the theory that the three Synoptists wrote independ- 
ently of each other. Afterwards, when the task of editing Dr. Robinson’s Greek Harmony compelled him to 
compare again and again every word of each account, the evidences of independence seemed to him to be 
overwhelming. 


155 



Introductory Essay. 


thew. When uniformity could not be secured by this process, false exegesis was often resorted 
to, and hermeneutical principles avowed which injured the cause of truth. Evangelical truth 
cannot be defended with the weapons of error. This vicious method was usually the result 
of mechanical views of inspiration. That view of inspiration which rightly recognises language 
as vital, and which therefore seeks to know the meaning of every word, has no worse foe 
than the hermeneutical principle which ignores the historical sense of any word of Scripture. 

The tendency just referred to brought harmonistic labours into disrepute. The immense 
activity of the present century in exegetical theology has not taken this direction. Moreover, 
the historical method received its greatest impulse from the tendency- theory of the Tubingen 
school, which presupposes the impossibility of constructing a Harmony of the four Gospels. 
Hence the reaction, in Germany especially, has been excessive. 

Yet Harmonies are still prepared, and are still useful. Harmonistic labours have their 
rightful, though limited, place in the field of Exegetical Theology. 

A very brief sketch of the leading works of this character will serve to illustrate the above 
statements. 

The earliest attempt at constructing a Harmony was that of Tatian 494 (died A.D. 172). 
The date of its appearance was between A.D. 153 and 170; and its title, Diatessaron, furnishes 
abundant evidence of the early acceptance of our four canonical Gospels. Our knowledge 
of this work was, until recently, very slight. But the discovery of an Armenian translation 
of a commentary upon it, by Ephraem the Syrian, has enabled Zahn to reconstruct a large 
part of the text. The commentary was translated into Latin in 1841, but little attention was 
paid to it until an edition by Moesinger appeared in 1876. 495 The influence of Tatian’s 
Diatessaron upon the Greek text seems to have been unfortunate. Many of the corruptions 
in the received text of the Gospel of Mark are probably due to the confusion of the separate 
narratives occasioned by this work. Tregelles (in the new edition of Horne’s Introduction, 
vol. iv. p. 40) says that it “had more effect apparently in the text of the Gospels in use 
throughout the Church than all the designed falsifications of Marcion and every scion of 
the Gnostic blood.” It seems to have contained nothing indicating heretical bias or inten- 
tional alteration. 

The next Harmony was that of Ammonius of Alexandria, the teacher of Origen, the 
first work bearing this title ('AAppovta). It appeared about A.D. 220, but has been lost. Until 
recently it was supposed that the sections into which some early mss. divide the Gospels 
were those of Ammonius himself; but, while he did make such divisions, those bearing his 


494 See Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. ii. rev. ed., pp. 493 sqq., 726 sqq.; also Schaff-Herzog, 
Encyclopedia, article “Diatessaron.” For the literature, see as above, and the supplementary volume of the Ante- 
Nicene Fathers, pp. 33-35. Tatian’s Address to the Greeks may be found in vol. ii. Ante-Nicene Fathers, pp. 65-83. 

495 For full titles of these volumes, see Schaff, as above. 


156 



Introductory Essay. 


name are to be attributed to Eusebius (see below). Ammonius made Matthew the basis of 
his work, and by his arrangement destroyed the continuity of the separate narratives. Every 
Harmony based upon the order of Matthew must be a failure. 

Eusebius of Caesarea (died A.D. 340) adopted a similar set of divisions, adding to them 
numbers from 1 to 10, called “Canons,” which indicate the parallelisms of the sections. 
These sections and canons are printed in Tischendorf s critical editions of the Greek Testa- 
ment, and in some other editions. 496 The influence of this system seems to have been great, 
but Eusebius often accepts a parallelism where there is really none whatever. Some of the 
sections are very brief, containing only part of a verse. Hence the tables of sections furnish 
no basis for estimating the matter common to two or more evangelists. 

The work of Augustin comes next in order; it deals little with chronological questions, 
and shows no trace of such complete textual labour as that of Eusebius. 

The Reformation gave a new impulse to this department of Biblical study. In the sixteenth 
century many Harmonies appeared. Among the authors are the well-known names of 
Osiander, Jansen, Robert Stephens, John Calvin, Du Moulin, Chemnitz. These works were 
written in Latin, as a rule; and they are worthy of the age which produced them. Lack of 
sufficient critical material prevented complete accuracy, but the exegetical methods of the 
sixteenth century obtain in the Harmonies also. 

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries present little in this field of labour that deserves 
favourable notice. The undisputed reign of the Textus Receptus impeded investigation; the 
supernaturalism of the dominant theology was not favourable to historical investigation; 
the mechanical theory of inspiration led to arbitrary and forced interpretations. Even the 
older rationalism, which explained away the supernatural, was scarcely more faulty in its 
exegesis than many an orthodox commentator. The labours of J. Lightfoot deserve grateful 
recognition. This great Hebrew scholar did not finish his Harmony of the Gospels, but shed 
great light upon many of the problems involved, by his knowledge of Jewish customs. J. A. 
Bengel, the pioneer of modern textual criticism of the New Testament, published a valuable 
Harmony in German. W. Newcome published a Harmony of the Gospels in Greek (Dublin, 
1778). He follows Le Clerc (Amsterdam, 1779), and his Harmony is the basis of the more 
modern work by Edward Robinson (see below). 

While the Tubingen school, by its tendency- theory, virtually denied the possibility of 
constructing a Harmony, it compelled the conservative theologians to adopt the historical 



496 The letter of Eusebius to Caprianus is given by C. R. Gregory (Prolegomena to Tischendorf s eighth edition, 

part i. pp. 143-153), together with a full list of the sections arranged under the separate canons. The numbers 
signify as follows: — 1. In all four Gospels, 71. 2. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, 111. 3. In Matthew, Luke, John, 22. 
4. In Matthew, Mark, John, 26. 5. In Matthew, Luke, 82. 6. In Matthew, Mark, 47. 7. In Matthew, John, 7. 8. In 
Luke, Mark, 14. 9. In Luke, John, 21. 10. In one Gospel: Matthew, 62; Mark, 21; Luke, 71; John, 97. 


157 



Introductory Essay. 


method. Thus there has been gathered much material for harmonistic labours. But in Ger- 
many, as in England and America, Lives of Christ have been more numerous than Harmonies. 

K. Wieseler and C. Tischendorf, among recent German scholars, have published valuable 
Harmonies. In England the work most in use is that of E. Greswell. The Archbishop of York, 
William Thomson, presents in Smith’s Bible Dictionary a valuable table of the Harmony of 
the Four Gospels (article “Gospels,” Am. ed. vol. ii. p. 751). 

An interesting edition of the Synoptic Gospels is that of W. G. Rushbrooke (Synopticon, 
Cambridge, 1880-81). It is designed to show, by different type and colour, the divergences 
and correspondences of the three Gospels. The Greek text is that of Tischendorf, corrected 
from that of Westcott and Hort. It presents in the readiest form the material for harmonistic 
comparisons; but the editor has prepared it with a purpose diametrically opposed to that 
of the Harmonist, namely, to construct from the matter common to the Synoptists a “triple 
tradition,” which will, in the author’s judgment, approximately present the “source” from 
which all have drawn. The work has great value apart from its theory of the origin of the 
Synoptic Gospels. 

In America Edward Robinson published, in repeated editions, a Harmony of the Gospels 
in Greek and also in English. He had previously reprinted that of Newcome. 

S. J. Andrews ( Life of our Lord; New York, 1863), has sought “to arrange the events of 
the Lord’s life, as given us by the evangelists, so far as possible, in a chronological order, and 
to state the grounds of this order.” It is virtually a Harmony, with the full text of the Gospels 
omitted. Few works of the kind equal it in value, though it needs revision in the light of the 
more recent results of textual criticism. 

Frederic Gardinerhas published a Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek (Andover, 
1871, 1876). It gives the text of Tischendorf (eighth edition), with a collation of the Textus 
Receptus, and of the texts of Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tregelles. The authorities are cited 
in the case of important variations. Another valuable feature is a comparative table, 
presenting in parallel columns the arrangement adopted by Greswell, Stroud, Robinson, 
Thomson, Tischendorf, and Gardiner. 

A number of works, aiming to consolidate into one narrative the four accounts, have 
been passed over. 

The Harmony of Dr. Robinson, which has held its ground for more than forty years, 
has been recently revised by the present writer. The text of Tischendorf has been substituted 
for that of Hahn; all the various readings materially affecting the sense which are found in 
Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and in the Revised English version of 1881, have been given 
in footnotes, with a selection of the leading authorities (mss. and versions) for or against 
each reading cited. The Appendix has been enlarged to meet the new phases of discussion; 
but the whole volume is what it purports to be, — a revision of the standard work of Dr. 
Robinson. In the matter of the Greek text, the author would probably have done what has 


158 



Introductory Essay. 


now been done by the editor. A similar but less extensive revision of the English Harmony 
of Dr. Robinson has been published. 497 

Allegheny, Pa., Nov. 14, 1887. 


497 For lists of Harmonies, see Schaff, History of the Christian Church, rev. ed. vol. i. pp. 575, 576; Gardiner, 

Harmony, pp. xxxiv.-xxxvii.; Robinson, Harmony, revised by Riddle, pp. ix, x. Each of these lists contains ref- 
erences to older authors and their lists. See also Smith, Bible Dictionary, Am. ed. (Hackett and Abbot) ii. pp. 
950, 960. 


159 



Translator’s Introductory Notice. 


TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. 


In the remarkable work known as his Retractations, Augustin makes a brief statement 
on the subject of this treatise on the Harmony of the Evangelists. The sixteenth chapter of 
the second book of that memorable review of his literary career, contains corrections of 
certain points on which he believed that he had not been sufficiently accurate in these dis- 
cussions. In the same passage he informs us that this treatise was undertaken during the 
years in which he was occupied with his great work on the Trinity, and that, breaking in 
upon the task which had been making gradual progress under his hand, he wrought continu- 
ously at this new venture until it was finished. Its composition is assigned to about the year 
400 A.D. The date is determined in the following manner: In the first book there is a sentence 
(§ 27) which appears to indicate that, by the time when Augustin engaged himself with this 
effort, the destruction of the idols of the old religion was being carried out under express 
imperial authority. No law of that kind, however, affecting Africa, seems to be found ex- 
pressed previous to those to which he refers at the close of the eighteenth book of the City 
of God. There he gives us to understand that such measures were put in force in Carthage, 
under Gaudentius and Jovius, the associates of the Emperor Honorius, and states that for 
the space of nearly thirty years from that time the Christian religion made advances large 
enough to arrest general attention. Before that period, which must have been about the year 
399, the idols could not be destroyed, as Augustin elsewhere indicates ( Serm . lxii. 1 1, n. 17), 
but with the consent of the parties to whom they belonged. These considerations are taken 
to fix the composition of this work to a date not earlier than the close of 399 A.D. 

Among Augustin’s numerous theological productions, this one takes rank with the most 
toilsome and exhaustive. We find him expressing himself to that effect now and again, when 
he has occasion to allude to it. Thus, in the 112th Tractate on John (n. i), he calls it a labor- 
ious piece of literature; and in the 117th Tractate on the same evangelist, he speaks of the 
themes here dealt with as matters which were discussed with the utmost painstaking. 

Its great object is to vindicate the Gospel against the critical assaults of the heathen. 
Paganism, having tried persecution as its first weapon, and seen it fail, attempted next to 
discredit the new faith by slandering its doctrine, impeaching its history, and attacking with 
special persistency the veracity of the Gospel writers. In this it was aided by some of Au- 
gustin’s heretical antagonists, who endeavoured at times to establish a conspicuous incon- 
sistency between the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian, and at times to prove the several 
sections of the New Testament to be at variance with each other. Many alleged that the ori- 
ginal Gospels had received considerable additions of a spurious character. And it was a fa- 
vorite method of argumentation, adopted both by heathen and by Manichaean adversaries, 
to urge that the evangelical historians contradicted each other. Thus, in the present treatise 


160 



Translator’s Introductory Notice. 


(i. 7), Augustin speaks of this matter of the discrepancies between the Evangelists as the 
palmary argument wielded by his opponents. Hence, as elsewhere he sought to demonstrate 
the congruity of the Old Testament with the New, he set himself here to exonerate Chris- 
tianity from the charge of any defect of harmony, whether in the facts recorded or in the 
order of their narration, between its four fundamental historical documents. 

The plan of the work is laid out in four great divisions. In the first book, he refutes those 
who asserted that Christ was only the wisest among men, and who aimed at detracting from 
the authority of the Gospels, by insisting on the absence of any written compositions pro- 
ceeding from the hand of Christ Himself, and by affirming that the disciples went beyond 
what had been his own teaching both on the subject of His divinity, and on the duty of 
abandoning the worship of the gods. In the second, he enters upon a careful examination 
of Matthew’s Gospel, on to the record of the supper, comparing it with Mark, Luke, and 
John, and exhibiting the perfect harmony subsisting between them. In the third, he 
demonstrates the same consistency between the four Evangelists, from the account of the 
supper on to the end. And in the fourth, he subjects to a similar investigation those passages 
in Mark, Luke, and John, which have no proper parallels in Matthew. 

For the discharge of a task like this, Augustin was gifted with much, but he also lacked 
much. The resources of a noble and penetrating intellect, profound spiritual insight, and 
reverent love for Scripture, formed high qualifications at his command. But he was deficient 
in exact scholarship. Thoroughly versed in Latin literature, as is evinced here by the happy 
notices of Ennius, Cicero, Lucan, and others of its great writers, he knew little Greek, and 
no Hebrew. He refers more than once in the present treatise to his ignorance of the original 
language of the Old Testament; and while his knowledge of that of the New was probably 
not so unserviceable as has often been supposed, instances like that in which he solves the 
apparent difficulty in the two burdens, mentioned in Gal. vi., without alluding to the distinc- 
tion between the Greek words, make it sufficiently plain that it was not at least his invariable 
habit to prosecute these studies with the original in his view. Hence we find him missing 
many explanations which would at once have suggested themselves, had he not so implicitly 
followed the imperfect versions of the sacred text. 

An analysis of the contents of the work might show much that is of interest to the Bib- 
lical critic. Principles elsewhere theoretically enunciated are seen here in their free application. 
In some respects, this effort is one of a more severely scientific character than is often the 
case with Augustin. It displays much less digression than is customary with him. The tend- 
ency to extravagant allegorizing is also less frequently indulged in, although it does come 
to the surface at times, as in the notable example of the interpretation of the names Leah 
and Rachel. His inordinate dependence upon the Septuagint, however, is as broadly marked 
here as anywhere. As he sometimes indicates an inclination to accept the story of Aristeas, 
in this composition he almost goes the length of claiming a special inspiration for these 


161 


Translator’s Introductory Notice. 


translators. On the other hand, in many passages we have the privilege of seeing his resolve 
to be no uncritical expositor. He pauses often to chronicle varieties of reading, sometimes 
in the Latin text and sometimes in the Greek. Thus he notices the occurrence of Lebbceus 
for Thaddceus, of Dalmanutha for Magedan, and the like, and mentions how some codices 
read woman for maid, in the sentence, The maid is not dead, but sleepeth (Matt. ix. 24). 

His principles of harmonizing are ordinarily characterized by simplicity and good sense. 
In general, he surmounts the difficulty of what may seem at first sight discordant versions 
of one incident, by supposing different instances of the same circumstances, or repeated 
utterances of the same words. He holds emphatically by the position, that wherever it is 
possible to believe two similar incidents to have taken place, no contradiction can legitimately 
be alleged, although no Evangelist may relate them both together. All merely verbal variations 
in the records of the same occurrence he regards as matters of too little consequence to 
create any serious perplexity to the student whose aim is honestly to reach the sense intended. 
Such narratives as those of the storm upon the lake, the healing of the centurion’s servant, 
and the denials of Peter, furnish good examples of his method, and of the fair and fearless 
spirit of his inquiry. And however unsuccessful we may now judge some of his endeavours, 
when we consider the comparative poverty of his materials, and the untrodden field which 
he essayed to search, we shall not deny to this treatise the merit of grandeur in original 
conception, and exemplary faithfulness in actual execution. 

S. D. F. S. 


162 


Book I 


THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS. 


h, 

77 

Book I. 

The treatise opens with a short statement on the subject of the authority of the evangelists, 
their number, their order, and the different plans of their narratives. Augustin then prepares 
for the discussion of the questions relating to their harmony, by joining issue in this book 
with those who raise a difficulty in the circumstance that Christ has left no writing of His 
own, or who falsely allege that certain books were composed by Him on the arts of magic. 

He also meets the objections of those who, in opposition to the evangelical teaching, assert 
that the disciples of Christ at once ascribed more to their Master than He really was, when 
they affirmed that He was God, and inculcated what they had not been instructed in by 
Him, when they interdicted the worship of the gods. Against these antagonists he vindicates 
the teaching of the apostles, by appealing to the utterances of the prophets, and by showing 
that the God of Israel was to be the sole object of worship, who also, although He was the 
only Deity to whom acceptance was denied informer times by the Romans, and that for 
the very reason that He prohibited them from worshipping other gods along with Himself, 
has now in the end made the empire of Rome subject to His name, and among all nations 
has broken their idols in pieces through the preaching of the gospel, as He had promised 
by His prophets that the event should be. 


163 



On the Au thority of the Gospels. 


Chapter I. — On the Authority of the Gospels. 

1 . In the entire number of those divine records which are contained in the sacred writings, 
the gospel deservedly stands pre-eminent. For what the law and the prophets aforetime an- 
nounced as destined to come to pass, is exhibited in the gospel in its realization 498 and ful- 
filment. The first preachers of this gospel were the apostles, who beheld our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ in person when He was yet present in the flesh. And not only did these 499 men 
keep in remembrance the words heard from His lips, and the deeds wrought by Him beneath 
their eyes; but they were also careful, when the duty of preaching the gospel was laid upon 
them, to make mankind acquainted with those divine and memorable occurrences which 
took place at a period antecedent to the formation of their own connection with Him in the 
way of discipleship, which belonged also to the time of His nativity, His infancy, or His 
youth, and with regard to which they were able to institute exact inquiry and to obtain in- 
formation, either at His own hand or at the hands of His parents or other parties, on the 
ground of the most reliable intimations and the most trustworthy testimonies. Certain of 
them also — namely, Matthew and John — gave to the world, in their respective books, a 
written account of all those matters which it seemed needful to commit to writing concerning 
Him. 

2. And to preclude the supposition that, in what concerns the apprehension and pro- 
clamation of the gospel, it is a matter of any consequence whether the enunciation comes 
by men who were actual followers of this same Lord here when He manifested Himself in 
the flesh and had the company of His disciples attendant on Him, or by persons who with 
due credit received facts with which they became acquainted in a trustworthy manner 
through the instrumentality of these former, divine providence, through the agency of the 
Holy Spirit, has taken care that certain of those also who were nothing more than followers 
of the first apostles should have authority given them not only to preach the gospel, but also 
to compose an account of it in writing. I refer to Mark and Luke. All those other individuals, 
however, who have attempted or dared to offer a written record of the acts of the Lord or 
of the apostles, failed to commend themselves in their own times as men of the character 
which would induce the Church to yield them its confidence, and to admit their compositions 
to the canonical authority of the Holy Books. And this was the case not merely because they 
were persons who could make no rightful claim to have credit given them in their narrations, 
but also because in a deceitful manner they introduced into their writings certain matters 


498 Reading redditum. Four mss. give revelatum = as brought to light. — Migne. 

499 Instead of Qui non solum, as above, many mss. read Cujus, etc. — Migne. 

164 



On the Authority of the Gospels. 


which are condemned at once by the catholic and apostolic rule of faith, and by sound 
doctrine. 500 


500 [The character of the Apocryphal Gospels is obvious. The reference of Luke (i. 1 ) is probably to fragmentary 

records, now lost. Comp, below Book iv. chap. 8. — R.] 


165 


On the Order of the Evangelists, and the Principles on Which They Wrote 


Chapter II. — On the Order of the Evangelists, and the Principles on Which They 
Wrote. 

3. Now, those four evangelists whose names have gained the most remarkable circula- 
tion 501 over the whole world, and whose number has been fixed as four, — it may be for the 
simple reason that there are four divisions of that world through the universal length of 
which they, by their number as by a kind of mystical sign, indicated the advancing extension 
of the Church of Christ, — are believed to have written in the order which follows: first 
Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John. Hence, too, [it would appear that] these had 
one order determined among them with regard to the matters of their personal knowledge 
and their preaching [of the gospel], but a different order in reference to the task of giving 
the written narrative. As far, indeed, as concerns the acquisition of their own knowledge 
and the charge of preaching, those unquestionably came first in order who were actually 
followers of the Lord when He was present in the flesh, and who heard Him speak and saw 
Him act; and [with a commission received] from His lips they were despatched to preach 
the gospel. But as respects the task of composing that record of the gospel which is to be 
accepted as ordained by divine authority, there were (only) two, belonging to the number 
of those whom the Lord chose before the passover, that obtained places, — namely, the first 
place and the last. For the first place in order was held by Matthew, and the last by John. 
And thus the remaining two, who did not belong to the number referred to, but who at the 
same time had become followers of the Christ who spoke in these others, were supported 
on either side by the same, like sons who were to be embraced, and who in this way were 
set in the midst between these twain. 

4. Of these four, it is true, only Matthew is reckoned to have written in the Hebrew 
language; the others in Greek. And however they may appear to have kept each of them a 
certain order of narration proper to himself, this certainly is not to be taken as if each indi- 
vidual writer chose to write in ignorance of what his predecessor had done, or left out as 
matters about which there was no information things which another nevertheless is dis- 
covered to have recorded. But the fact is, that just as they received each of them the gift of 
inspiration, they abstained from adding to their several labours any superfluous conjoint 
compositions. For Matthew is understood to have taken it in hand to construct the record 
of the incarnation of the Lord according to the royal lineage, and to give an account of most 
part of His deeds and words as they stood in relation to this present life of men. Mark follows 
him closely, and looks like his attendant and epitomizer. For in his narrative he gives 


501 Notissimi. 

502 [This opinion is not only unwarranted, since Mark shows greater signs of originality, but it has been 
prejudicial to the correct appreciation of the Gospel of Mark. The verbal identity of Matthew and Mark in par- 
allel passages is far less than commonly supposed. — R.] 


166 



On the Order of the Evangelists, and the Principles on Which They Wrote 


nothing in concert with John apart from the others: by himself separately, he has little to 
record; in conjunction with Luke, as distinguished from the rest, he has still less; but in 
concord with Matthew, he has a very large number of passages. Much, too, he narrates in 
words almost numerically and identically the same as those used by Matthew, where the 
agreement is either with that evangelist alone, or with him in connection with the rest. On 
the other hand, Luke appears to have occupied himself rather with the priestly lineage and 
character of the Lord. For although in his own way he carries the descent back to David, 
what he has followed is not the royal pedigree, but the line of those who were not kings. 

That genealogy, too, he has brought to a point in Nathan the son of David , 504 which person 
likewise was no king. It is not thus, however, with Matthew. For in tracing the lineage along 
through Solomon the king , 505 he has pursued with strict regularity the succession of the 
other kings; and in enumerating these, he has also conserved that mystical number of which 
we shall speak hereafter. 

N 

79 


503 Personam. 

504 Lukeiii. 31. 


505 Matt. i. 6. 


167 


Of the Fact that Matthew, Together with Mark, Had Specially in View the... 


Chapter III. — Of the Fact that Matthew, Together with Mark, Had Specially in View 
the Kingly Character of Christ, Whereas Luke Dealt with the Priestly. 

5. For the Lord fesus Christ, who is the one true King and the one true Priest, the former 

to rule us, and the latter to make expiation for us, has shown us how His own figure bore 
these two parts together, which were only separately commended [to notice] among the 
Fathers. 506 This becomes apparent if (for example) we look to that inscription which was 
affixed to His cross — “King of the lews:” in connection also with which, and by a secret in- 
stinct, Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.” For it had been said aforetime 

rno 

in the Psalms, “Destroy not the writing of the title.” The same becomes evident, so far as 
the part of priest is concerned, if we have regard to what He has taught us concerning offering 
and receiving. For thus it is that He sent us beforehand a prophecy 509 respecting Himself, 
which runs thus, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek.” 510 And in 
many other testimonies of the divine Scriptures, Christ appears both as King and as Priest. 
Hence, also, even David himself, whose son He is, not without good reason, more frequently 
declared to be than he is said to be Abraham’s son, and whom Matthew and Luke have both 
alike held by, — the one viewing him as the person from whom, through Solomon, His lineage 
can be traced down, and the other taking him for the person to whom, through Nathan, His 
genealogy can be carried up, — did represent the part of a priest, although he was patently a 
king, when he ate the shew-bread. For it was not lawful for any one to eat that, save the 
priests only. 511 To this it must be added that Luke is the only one who mentions how Mary 
was discovered by the angel, and how she was related to Elisabeth, who was the wife of 
Zacharias the priest. And of this Zacharias the same evangelist has recorded the fact, that 
the woman whom he had for wife was one of the daughters of Aaron, which is to say she 

cn 

belonged to the tribe of the priests. 

6. Whereas, then, Matthew had in view the kingly character, and Luke the priestly, they 
have at the same time both set forth pre-eminently the humanity of Christ: for it was accord- 


506 Some editions insert antiquos, the ancient Fathers; but the mss. omit it. — Migne. 

507 Johnxix. 19-22. 

508 Ps. lxxv. 1. 

509 Two mss. give prophetam (“prophet”) instead of prophetiam (“prophecy”). — Migne. 

510 Ps. cx. 4. 

511 1 Sam. xxi. 6; Matt. xii. 3. 

512 The reading supported by the manuscripts is: Mariam commemorat ab Angelo manifestatam cognatam 
fuisse Elisabeth. It is sometimes given thus: Mariam commemorat manifeste cognatam, etc. = mentions that Mary 
was clearly related to Elizabeth. 

513 Luke i. 36,5. 


168 


Of the Fact that Matthew, Together with Mark, Had Specially in View the... 


ing to His humanity that Christ was made both King and Priest. To Him, too, God gave the 
throne of His father David, in order that of His kingdom there should be none end . 514 And 
this was done with the purpose that there might be a mediator between God and men, the 
man Christ Jesus , 515 to make intercession for us. Luke, on the other hand, had no one con- 
nected with him to act as his summarist in the way that Mark was attached to Matthew. 
And it may be that this is not without a certain solemn significance . 516 For it is the right of 
kings not to miss the obedient following of attendants; and hence the evangelist, who had 
taken it in hand to give an account of the kingly character of Christ, had a person attached 
to him as his associate who was in some fashion to follow in his steps. But inasmuch as it 
was the priest’s want to enter all alone into the holy of holies, in accordance with that prin- 
ciple, Luke, whose object contemplated the priestly office of Christ, did not have any one 
to come after him as a confederate, who was meant in some way to serve as an epitomizer 

ri-7 

of his narrative. 


514 Luke i. 32. 

515 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

516 Sine aliquo Sacramento. 

517 [Here we have a mystical meaning attached to an opinion unwarranted by facts. Yet Augustin’s mystical 
treatment of the “Synoptic problem” is, with all its faults, not more fanciful and extravagant than some of the 
modern “critical” solutions of the same problem. — R.] 


169 


Of the Fact that John Undertook the Exposition of Christ’s Divinity. 


Chapter IV. — Of the Fact that John Undertook the Exposition of Christ’s Divinity. 
7. These three evangelists, however, were for the most part engaged with those things 

(7 10 

which Christ did through the vehicle of the flesh of man, and after the temporal fashion. 
But John, on the other hand, had in view that true divinity of the Lord in which He is the 
Father’s equal, and directed his efforts above all to the setting forth of the divine nature in 
his Gospel in such a way as he believed to be adequate to men’s needs and notions. 519 
Therefore he is borne to loftier heights, in which he leaves the other three far behind him; 
so that, while in them you see men who have their conversation in a certain manner with 
the man Christ on earth, in him you perceive one who has passed beyond the cloud in which 
the whole earth is wrapped, and who has reached the liquid heaven from which, with clearest 
and steadiest mental eye, he is able to look upon God the Word, who was in the beginning 
with God, and by whom all things were made. And there, too, he can recognise Him who 

c-i 1 

was made flesh in order that He might dwell amongst us; [that Word of whom we say,] 
that He assumed the flesh, not that He was changed into the flesh. For had not this assump- 
tion of the flesh been effected in such a manner as at the same time to conserve the unchange- 
able Divinity, such a word as this could never have been spoken, — namely, “I and the Father 
are one.” For surely the Father and the flesh are not one. And the same John is also the 
only one who has recorded that witness which the Lord gave concerning Himself, when He 
said: “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also;” and, “I am in the Father, and the 
Father is in me;” “that they may be one, even as we are one;” and, “Whatsoever the 

n (7 

Father doeth, these same things doeth the Son likewise.” And whatever other statements 
there may be to the same effect, calculated to betoken, to those who are possessed of right 
understanding, that divinity of Christ in which He is the Father’s equal, of all these we might 
almost say that we are indebted for their introduction into the Gospel narrative to John 
alone. For he is like one who has drunk in the secret of His divinity more richly and somehow 
more familiarly than others, as if he drew it from the very bosom of his Lord on which it 

r') /7 

was his wont to recline when He sat at meat.' 


518 Temporaliter. 

519 Quantum inter homines sufficere credidit. 

520 John i. 1, 3. 

521 John i. 14. 

522 John x. 30. 

523 John xiv. 9, 10. 

524 John xvii. 22. 

525 John v. 19. 

526 John xiii. 23. 


170 


Concerning the Two Virtues, of Which John is Conversant with the Contemplative,... 


Chapter V. — Concerning the Two Virtues, of Which John is Conversant with the 

Contemplative, the Other Evangelists with the Active. 

8. Moreover, there are two several virtues (or talents) which have been proposed to the 
mind of man. Of these, the one is the active, and the other the contemplative: the one being 
that whereby the way is taken, and the other that whereby the goal is reached; the one 
that by which men labour in order that the heart may be purified to see God, and the other 

coo 

that by which men are disengaged and God is seen. Thus the former of these two virtues 
is occupied with the precepts for the right exercise of the temporal life, whereas the latter 
deals with the doctrine of that life which is everlasting. In this way, also, the one operates, 
the other rests; for the former finds its sphere in the purging of sins, the latter moves in the 
light of the purged. And thus, again, in this mortal life the one is engaged with the work 
of a good conversation; while the other subsists rather on faith, and is seen only in the person 
of the very few, and through the glass darkly, and only in part in a kind of vision of the un- 
changeable truth. Now these two virtues are understood to be presented emblematically 
in the instance of the two wives of Jacob. Of these I have discoursed already up to the 
measure of my ability, and as fully as seemed to be appropriate to my task, (in what I have 

ci 1 

written) in opposition to Faustus the Manichaean. For Lia, indeed, by interpretation 
means “labouring,” whereas Rachel signifies “the first principle seen.” And by this it 
is given us to understand, if one wih only attend carefully to the matter, that those three 
evangelists who, with pre-eminent fulness, have handled the account of the Lord’s temporal 
doings and those of His sayings which were meant to bear chiefly upon the moulding of the 
manners of the present life, were conversant with that active virtue; and that John, on the 
other hand, who narrates fewer by far of the Lord’s doings, but records with greater careful- 
ness and with larger wealth of detail the words which He spoke, and most especially those 


527 Ilia qua itur, ista qua pervenitur. 

528 Qua vacatur. 

529 Reading lumine; but one of the Vatican mss. gives in illutninatione, in the enlightenment of the purged. 

530 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

531 Bookxxii. 52. 

532 Laborans. 

533 Visum principium. In various editions it is given as visus principium. The mss. have visum principium. 
In the passage referred to in the treatise against Faustus the Manichaean, Augustin appends the explanation, sive 
verbum ex quo videtur principium, = the first principle seen, or the word by which the first principle is seen. The 
etymologies on which Augustin proceeds may perhaps be these: for Leah, the Hebrew verb Laah , to be wearied 

(nj6) ; and for Rachel the Hebrew forms Raah = see, and Chalal = begin (7"lfcO ,7^1"!). For another example 
of extravagant allegorizing on the two wives of Jacob, see Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, chap. cxl. — Tr. 

171 


Concerning the Two Virtues, of Which John is Conversant with the Contemplative,... 


discourses which were intended to introduce us to the knowledge of the unity of the Trinity 
and the blessedness of the life eternal, formed his plan and framed his statement with a view 
to commend the contemplative virtue to our regard. 


172 



Of the Four Living Creatures in the Apocalypse, Which Have Been Taken by... 


Chapter VI. — Of the Four Living Creatures in the Apocalypse, Which Have Been 
Taken by Some in One Application, and by Others in Another, as Apt Figures 
of the Four Evangelists. 

9. For these reasons, it also appears to me, that of the various parties who have interpreted 
the living creatures in the Apocalypse as significant of the four evangelists, those who have 
taken the lion to point to Matthew, the man to Mark, the calf to Luke, and the eagle to John, 
have made a more reasonable application of the figures than those who have assigned the 
man to Matthew, the eagle to Mark, and the lion to John. 534 For, in forming their particular 
idea of the matter, these latter have chosen to keep in view simply the beginnings of the 
books, and not the full design of the several evangelists in its completeness, which was the 
matter that should, above all, have been thoroughly examined. For surely it is with much 
greater propriety that the one who has brought under our notice most largely the kingly 
character of Christ, should be taken to be represented by the lion. Thus is it also that we 
find the lion mentioned in conjunction with the royal tribe itself, in that passage of the 

cir 

Apocalypse where it is said, “The lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed.” For in Mat- 
thew’s narrative the magi are recorded to have come from the east to inquire after the King, 
and to worship Him whose birth was notified to them by the star. Thus, too, Herod, who 
himself also was a king, is [said there to be] afraid of the royal child, and to put so many 

r o/r 

little children to death in order to make sure that the one might be slain. Again, that Luke 
is intended under the figure of the calf, in reference to the pre-eminent sacrifice made by 
the priest, has been doubted by neither of the two [sets of interpreters]. For in that Gospel 
the narrator’s account commences with Zacharias the priest. In it mention is also made of 

c'in 

the relationship between Mary and Elisabeth. In it, too, it is recorded that the ceremonies 

(TOO 

proper to the earliest priestly service were attended to in the case of the infant Christ; 


534 [The latter application is that of Irenaeus (Adv. Hcer. iii.); but the prevalent application is that of Jerome, 
which is accepted in mediaeval art. It differs from that of Augustin (see table below). As a curious illustration of 
the fanciful character of such interpretations, the reader may consult the following table, which gives the order 
of the following living creatures in Rev. iv. 7, with some of the leading “applications.” 

Rev. iv. 7. Irenaeus. Augustin. Jerome. Lange, Stier. 

1 Lion... John. Matthew. Mark. Mark. 2. Calf... Luke. 

Luke. Luke. Matthew. 3. Man... Matthew. Mark. Matthew. Luke. 4. Eagle... Mark. 
John. John. John. 

No doubt further variations could be discovered. Comp. Schaff s Church History, rev. ed. vol. i. 585-589. — R.] 

535 Rev. v. 5. 

536 Matt. ii. 1-18. 

537 Luke i. 5, 36. 

538 Luke ii. 22-24. 


173 


Of the Four Living Creatures in the Apocalypse, Which Have Been Taken by... 


and a careful examination brings a variety of other matters under our notice in this Gospel, 
by which it is made apparent that Luke’s object was to deal with the part of the priest. In 
this way it follows further, that Mark, who has set himself neither to give an account of the 
kingly lineage, nor to expound anything distinctive of the priesthood, whether on the subject 
of the relationship or on that of the consecration, and who at the same time comes before 
us as one who handles the things which the man Christ did, appears to be indicated simply 
under the figure of the man among those four living creatures. But again, those three living 
creatures, whether lion, man, or calf, have their course upon this earth; and in like manner, 
those three evangelists occupy themselves chiefly with the things which Christ did in the 
flesh, and with the precepts which He delivered to men, who also bear the burden of the 
flesh, for their instruction in the rightful exercise of this mortal life. Whereas John, on the 
other hand, soars like an eagle above the clouds of human infirmity, and gazes upon the 
light of the unchangeable truth with those keenest and steadiest eyes of the heart. 


539 See also Tract. 36, on John i. 5. [This figure of Augustin has controlled all the subsequent symbolism re- 
specting the Evangelist John, and has been constantly cited by commentators. — R.] 


174 


A Statement of Augustin’s Reason for Undertaking This Work on the Harmony... 


Chapter VII. — A Statement of Augustin’s Reason for Undertaking This Work on 

the Harmony of the Evangelists, and an Example of the Method in Which He 

Meets Those Who Allege that Christ Wrote Nothing Himself, and that His Dis- 
ciples Made an Unwarranted Affirmation in Proclaiming Him to Be God. 

10. Those sacred chariots of the Lord, 540 however, in which He is borne throughout the 
earth and brings the peoples under His easy yoke and His light burden, are assailed with 
calumnious charges by certain persons who, in impious vanity or in ignorant temerity, think 
to rob of their credit as veracious historians those teachers by whose instrumentality the 
Christian religion has been disseminated all the world over, and through whose efforts it 
has yielded fruits so plentiful that unbelievers now scarcely dare so much as to mutter their 
slanders in private among themselves, kept in check by the faith of the Gentiles and by the 
devotion of all the peoples. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they still strive by their calumnious 
disputations to keep some from making themselves acquainted with the faith, and thus 
prevent them from becoming believers, while they also endeavour to the utmost of their 
power to excite agitations among others who have already attained to belief, and thereby 
give them trouble; and further, as there are some brethren who, without detriment to their 
own faith, have a desire to ascertain what answer can be given to such questions, either for 
the advantage of their own knowledge or for the purpose of refuting the vain utterances of 
their enemies, with the inspiration and help of the Lord our God (and would that it might 
prove profitable for the salvation of such men), we have undertaken in this work to 
demonstrate the errors or the rashness of those who deem themselves able to prefer charges, 
the subtilty of which is at least sufficiently observable, against those four different books of 
the gospel which have been written by these four several evangelists. And in order to carry 
out this design to a successful conclusion, we must prove that the writers in question do not 
stand in any antagonism to each other. For those adversaries are in the habit of adducing 
this as the palmary 541 allegation in all their vain objections, namely, that the evangelists are 
not in harmony with each other. 

11. But we must first discuss a matter which is apt to present a difficulty to the minds 
of some. I refer to the question why the Lord has written nothing Himself, and why He has 
thus left us to the necessity of accepting the testimony of other persons who have prepared 
records of His history. For this is what those parties — the pagans more than any 542 — allege 
when they lack boldness enough to impeach or blaspheme the Lord jesus Christ Himself, 
and when they allow Him — only as a man, however — to have been possessed of the most 


540 Has Domini sanctas quadrigas. 

541 Reading either palmam sure vanitatis ohjicere, or with several mss. palmare, etc. 

542 Vel maxim e pagani. 

175 



A Statement of Augustin’s Reason for Undertaking This Work on the Harmony... 


distinguished wisdom. In making that admission, they at the same time assert that the dis- 
ciples claimed more for their Master than He really was; so much more indeed that they 
even called Him the Son of God, and the Word of God, by whom all things were made, and 
affirmed that He and God are one. And in the same way they dispose of all other kindred 
passages in the epistles of the apostles, in the light of which we have been taught that He is 
to be worshipped as one God with the Father. For they are of opinion that He is certainly 
to be honoured as the wisest of men; but they deny that He is to be worshipped as God. 

12. Wherefore, when they put the question why He has not written in His own person, 
it would seem as if they were prepared to believe regarding Him whatever He might have 
written concerning Himself, but not what others may have given the world to know with 
respect to His life, according to the measure of their own judgment. Well, I ask them in turn 
why, in the case of certain of the noblest of their own philosophers, they have accepted the 
statements which their disciples left in the records they have composed, while these sages 
themselves have given us no written accounts of their own lives? For Pythagoras, than whom 
Greece in those days 543 did not possess any more illustrious personage in the sphere of that 
contemplative virtue, is believed to have written absolutely nothing, whether on the subject 
of his own personal history or on any other theme whatsoever. And as to Socrates, to whom, 
on the other hand, they have adjudged a position of supremacy above all others in that active 
virtue by which the moral life is trained, so that they do not hesitate also to aver that he was 
even pronounced to be the wisest of men by the testimony of their deity Apollo, — it is indeed 
true that he handled the fables of TEsop in some few short verses, and thus made use of 
words and numbers of his own in the task of rendering the themes of another. But this was 
all. And so far was he from having the desire to write anything himself, that he declared that 
he had done even so much only because he was constrained by the imperial will of his demon, 
as Plato, the noblest of all his disciples, tells us. That was a work, also, in which he sought 
to set forth in fair form not so much his own thoughts, as rather the ideas of another. What 
reasonable ground, therefore, have they for believing, with regard to those sages, all that 
their disciples have committed to record in respect of their history, while at the same time 
they refuse to credit in the case of Christ what His disciples have written on the subject of 
His life? And all the more may we thus argue, when we see how they admit that all other 
men have been excelled by Him in the matter of wisdom, although they decline to acknow- 
ledge Him to be God. Is it, indeed, the case that those persons whom they do not hesitate 
to allow to have been by far His inferiors, have had the faculty of making disciples who can 
be trusted in all that concerns the narrative of their careers, and that He failed in that capacity? 
But if that is a most absurd statement to venture upon, then in all that belongs to the history 
of that Person to whom they grant the honour of wisdom, they ought to believe not merely 


543 Six mss. omit the tunc , at that time. — Migne. 


176 



A Statement of Augustin’s Reason for Undertaking This Work on the Harmony... 

what suits their own notions, but what they read in the narratives of those who learned from 
this sage Himself those various facts which they have left on record on the subject of His 
life. 


177 



Of the Question Why, If Christ is Believed to Have Been the Wisest of Men... 


Chapter VIII. — Of the Question Why, If Christ is Believed to Have Been the Wisest 
of Men on the Testimony of Common Narrative Report, He Should Not Be Be- 
lieved to Be God on the Testimony of the Superior Report of Preaching. 

13. Besides this, they ought to tell us by what means they have succeeded in acquiring 
their knowledge of this fact that He was the wisest of men, or how it has had the opportunity 
of reaching their ears. If they have been made acquainted with it simply by current report, 
then is it the case that common report forms a more trustworthy informant 544 on the subject 
of His history than those disciples of His who, as they have gone and preached of Him, have 
disseminated the same report like a penetrating savour throughout the whole world? 545 In 
fine, they ought to prefer the one kind of report to the other, and believe that account of 
His life which is the superior of the two. For this report, 546 indeed, which is spread abroad 
with a wonderful clearness from that Church catholic 547 at whose extension through the 
whole world those persons are so astonished, prevails in an incomparable fashion over the 
unsubstantial rumours with which men like them occupy themselves. This report, further- 

cm 

more, which carries with it such weight and such currency, that in dread of it they can 
only mutter their anxious and feeble snatches of paltry objections within their own breasts, 
as if they were more afraid now of being heard than wishful to receive credit, proclaims 
Christ to be the only-begotten Son of God, and Himself God, 549 by whom all things were 
made. If, therefore, they choose report as their witness, why does not their choice fix on this 
special report, which is so pre-eminently lustrous in its remarkable definiteness? And if they 
desire the evidence of writings, why do they not take those evangelical writings which excel 
all others in their commanding authority? On our side, indeed, we accept those statements 
about their deities which are offered at once in their most ancient writings and by most 
current report. But if these deities are to be considered proper objects for reverence, why 


544 Instead of de illo nuntiafama est, fourteen mss. give de illofama nuntiata est = is it a more trustworthy 
report that has been announced. — Migne. 

545 Quibus eum prcedicantibus ipsa per totum mundum fama fragravit 7 . 

546 Fama. 

547 De catholica ecclesia. 

548 Celebris. 

549 The words stand, as above, in the great majority of mss.: tarn Celebris, ut earn timendo isti trepidas et 
tepidas contradictiunculas in sinu suo rodant, jam plus metuentes audiri quam volentes credi, Filium Dei Unigen- 
itum et Deum prcedicat Christum ? In some mss. and editions the sense is altered by inserting est after Celebris, 
and substituting nolentes for volentes, and prcedicari for prcedicat; so that it becomes = that report is of such 
distinguished currency, that in dread of it they can only mutter, etc.... as now rather fearing to be heard than 
refusing to admit the belief that Christ is proclaimed to be the only-begotten Son of God, etc. See Migne. — Tr. 

178 



Of the Question Why, If Christ is Believed to Have Been the Wisest of Men... 


then do they make them the subject of laughter in the theatres? And if, on the other hand, 
they are proper objects for laughter, the occasion for such laughter must be all the greater 
when they are made the objects of worship in the theatres. It remains for us to look upon 
those persons as themselves minded to be witnesses concerning Christ, who, by speaking 
what they know not, divest themselves of the merit of knowing what they speak about. Or 
if, again, they assert that they are possessed of any books which they can maintain to have 
been written by Him, they ought to produce them for our inspection. For assuredly those 
books (if there are such) must be most profitable and most wholesome, seeing they are the 
productions of one whom they acknowledge to have been the wisest of men. If, however, 
they are afraid to produce them, it must be because they are of evil tendency; but if they are 
evil, then the wisest of men cannot have written them. They acknowledge Christ, however, 
to be the wisest of men, and consequently Christ cannot have written any such thing. 


179 



Of Certain Persons Who Pretend that Christ Wrote Books on the Arts ofM... 


Chapter IX. — Of Certain Persons Who Pretend that Christ Wrote Books on the Arts 
of Magic. 

14. But, indeed, these persons rise to such a pitch of folly as to allege that the books 
which they consider to have been written by Him contain the arts by which they think He 
wrought those miracles, the fame of which has become prevalent in all quarters. And this 
fancy of theirs betrays what they really love, and what their aims really are. For thus, indeed, 
they show us how they entertain this opinion that Christ was the wisest of men only for the 
reason that He possessed the knowledge of I know not what illicit arts, which are justly 
condemned, not merely by Christian discipline, but even by the administration of earthly 
government itself. And, in good sooth, if there are people who affirm that they have read 
books of this nature composed by Christ, then why do they not perform with their own 
hand some such works as those which so greatly excite their wonder when wrought by Him, 
by taking advantage of the information which they have derived from these books? 


180 



Of Some Who are Mad Enough to Suppose that the Books Were Inscribed with... 


Chapter X. — Of Some Who are Mad Enough to Suppose that the Books Were In- 
scribed with the Names of Peter and Paul. 

15. Nay more, as by divine judgment, some of those who either believe, or wish to have 
it believed, that Christ wrote matter of that description, have even wandered so far into error 
as to allege that these same books bore on their front, in the form of epistolary superscription, 
a designation addressed to Peter and Paul. And it is quite possible that either the enemies 
of the name of Christ, or certain parties who thought that they might impart to this kind of 
execrable arts the weight of authority drawn from so glorious a name, may have written 
things of that nature under the name of Christ and the apostles. But in such most deceitful 
audacity they have been so utterly blinded as simply to have made themselves fitting objects 
for laughter, even with young people who as yet know Christian literature only in boyish 
fashion, and rank merely in the grade of readers. 

16. For when they made up their minds to represent Christ to have written in such strain 
as that to His disciples, they bethought themselves of those of His followers who might best 
be taken for the persons to whom Christ might most readily be believed to have written, as 
the individuals who had kept by Him on the most familiar terms of friendship. And so Peter 
and Paul occurred to them, I believe, just because in many places they chanced to see these 
two apostles represented in pictures as both in company with Him. 550 For Rome, in a specially 
honourable and solemn manner, 551 commends the merits of Peter and of Paul, for this 
reason among others, namely, that they suffered [martyrdom] on the same day. Thus to fall 
most completely into error was the due desert of men who sought for Christ and His apostles 
not in the holy writings, but on painted walls. Neither is it to be wondered at, that these 
fiction-limners were misled by the painters. For throughout the whole period during 
which Christ lived in our mortal flesh in fellowship with His disciples, Paul had never become 
His disciple. Only after His passion, after His resurrection, after His ascension, after the 
mission of the Holy Spirit from heaven, after many Jews had been converted and had shown 
marvellous faith, after the stoning of Stephen the deacon and martyr, and when Paul still 
bore the name Saul, and was grievously persecuting those who had become believers in 
Christ, did Christ call that man [by a voice] from heaven, and made him His disciple and 

C CO 

apostle. How, then, is it possible that Christ could have written those books which they 
wish to have it believed that He did write before His death, and which were addressed to 


550 Simul eos cum illo pictos viderent. 

551 The text gives diem celebrius solemniter, etc.; others give diem celebrius et solemniter, and three mss. have 
diem celeberrimum solemniter . — Migne. 

552 A pingentibus fingentes decepti sunt. 

553 Acts ix. 1-30. 


181 


Of Some Who are Mad Enough to Suppose that the Books Were Inscribed with... 


Peter and Paul, as those among His disciples who had been most intimate with Him, seeing 
that up to that date Paul had not yet become a disciple of His at all? 


182 



In Opposition to Those Who Foolishly Imagine that Christ Converted the People... 


Chapter XI. — In Opposition to Those Who Foolishly Imagine that Christ Converted 

the People to Himself by Magical Arts. 

17. Moreover, let those who madly fancy that it was by the use of magical arts that He 
was able to do the great things which He did, and that it was by the practice of such rites 
that He made His name a sacred thing to the peoples who were to be converted to Him, 
give their attention to this question, — namely, whether by the exercise of magical arts, and 
before He was born on this earth, He could also have filled with the Holy Spirit those mighty 
prophets who aforetime declared those very things concerning Him as things destined to 
come to pass, which we can now read in their accomplishment in the gospel, and which we 
can see in their present realization in the world. For surely, even if it was by magical arts 
that He secured worship for Himself, and that, too, after His death, it is not the case that 
He was a magician before He was born. Nay, for the office of prophesying on the subject of 
His coming, one nation had been most specially deputed; and the entire administration of 
that commonwealth was ordained to be a prophecy of this King who was to come, and who 
was to found a heavenly state 554 drawn out of all nations. 


554 Civitatem. 


183 



Of the Fact that the God of the Jews, After the Subjugation of that People,... 


Chapter XII. — Of the Fact that the God of the Jews, After the Subjugation of that 

People, Was Still Not Accepted by the Romans, Because His Commandment 

Was that He Alone Should Be Worshipped, and Images Destroyed. 

18. Furthermore, that Hebrew nation, which, as I have said, was commissioned to 
prophesy of Christ, had no other God but one God, the true God, who made heaven and 
earth, and all that therein is. Under His displeasure they were ofttimes given into the power 
of their enemies. And now, indeed, on account of their most heinous sin in putting Christ 
to death, they have been thoroughly rooted out of Jerusalem itself, which was the capital of 
their kingdom, and have been made subject to the Roman empire. Now the Romans were 
in the habit of propitiating 555 the deities of those nations whom they conquered by worship- 
ping these themselves, and they were accustomed to undertake the charge of their sacred 
rites. But they declined to act on that principle with regard to the God of the Hebrew nation, 
either when they made their attack or when they reduced the people. I believe that they 
perceived that, if they admitted the worship of this Deity, whose commandment was that 
He only should be worshipped, and that images should be destroyed, they would have to 
put away from them all those objects to which formerly they had undertaken to do religious 
service, and by the worship of which they believed their empire had grown. But in this the 
falseness of their demons mightily deceived them. For surely they ought to have apprehended 
the fact that it is only by the hidden will of the true God, in whose hand resides the supreme 
power in all things, that the kingdom was given them and has been made to increase, and 
that their position was not due to the favour of those deities who, if they could have wielded 
any influence whatever in that matter, would rather have protected their own people from 
being over-mastered by the Romans, or would have brought the Romans themselves into 
complete subjection to them. 

19. Certainly they cannot possibly affirm that the kind of piety and manners exemplified 
by them became objects of love and choice on the part of the gods of the nations which they 
conquered. They will never make such an assertion, if they only recall their own early begin- 
nings, the asylum for abandoned criminals and the fratricide of Romulus. For when Remus 
and Romulus established their asylum, with the intention that whoever took refuge there, 
be the crime what it might be with which he stood charged, should enjoy impunity in his 
deed, they did not promulgate any precepts of penitence for bringing the minds of such 
wretched men back to a right condition. By this bribe of impunity did they not rather arm 
the gathered band of fearful fugitives against the states to which they properly belonged, 
and the laws of which they dreaded? Or when Romulus slew his brother, who had perpetrated 


555 The text gives deos. . . colendos propitiare. Five mss. give deos. . . colendo propitiare. — Migne. 


184 



Of the Fact that the God of the Jews, After the Subjugation of that People,... 


no evil against him, is it the case that his mind was bent on the vindication of justice, and 
not on the acquisition of absolute power? And is it true that the deities did take their delight 
in manners like these, as if they were themselves enemies to their own states, in so far as 
they favoured those who were the enemies of these communities? Nay rather, neither did 
they by deserting them harm the one class, nor did they by passing over to their side in any 
sense help the other. For they have it not in their power to give kingship or to remove it. 
But that is done by the one true God, according to His hidden counsel. And it is not His 
mind to make those necessarily blessed to whom He may have given an earthly kingdom, 
or to make those necessarily unhappy whom He has deprived of that position. But He makes 
men blessed or wretched for other reasons and by other means, and either by permission 
or by actual gift distributes temporal and earthly kingdoms to whomsoever He pleases, and 
for whatsoever period He chooses, according to the fore-ordained order of the ages. 


185 



Of the Question Why God Suffered the Jews to Be Reduced to Subjection. 


Chapter XIII. — Of the Question Why God Suffered the Jews to Be Reduced to Sub- 
jection. 

20. Hence also they cannot meet us fairly with this question: Why, then, did the God of 
the Hebrews, whom you declare to be the supreme and true God, not only not subdue the 
Romans under their power, but even fail to secure those Hebrews themselves against sub- 
jugation by the Romans? For there were open sins of theirs that went before them, and on 
account of which the prophets so long time ago predicted that this very thing would overtake 
them; and above all, the reason lay in the fact, that in their impious fury they put Christ to 
death, in the commission of which sin they were made blind [to the guilt of their crime] 
through the deserts of other hidden transgressions. That His sufferings also would be for 
the benefit of the Gentiles, was foretold by the same prophetic testimony. Nor, in another 
point of view, did the fact appear clearer, that the kingdom of that nation, and its temple, 
and its priesthood, and its sacrificial system, and that mystical unction which is called 
XpTopa 556 in Greek, from which the name of Christ takes its evident application, and on 

rr-7 

account of which that nation was accustomed to speak of its kings as anointed ones, were 

ordained with the express object of prefiguring Christ, than has the kindred fact become 
apparent, that after the resurrection of the Christ who was put to death began to be preached 
unto the believing Gentiles, all those things came to their end, all unrecognised as the cir- 
cumstance was, whether by the Romans, through whose victory, or by the Jews, through 
whose subjugation, it was brought about that they did thus reach their conclusion. 


556 Chrism. 

557 Christos. 


186 



Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews, Although the People Were Conquered,... 


Chapter XIV. — Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews, Although the People Were 
Conquered, Proved Himself to Be Unconquered, by Overthrowing the Idols, 
and by Turning All the Gentiles to His Own Service. 

21. Here indeed we have a wonderful fact, which is not remarked by those few pagans 
who have remained such, — namely, that this God of the Hebrews who was offended by the 
conquered, and who was also denied acceptance by the conquerors, is now preached and 
worshipped among all nations. This is that God of Israel of whom the prophet spake so long 
time since, when he thus addressed the people of God: “And He who brought thee out, the 

rr o 

God of Israel, shall be called (the God) of the whole earth.” What was thus prophesied 
has been brought to pass through the name of the Christ, who comes to men in the form of 
a descendant of that very Israel who was the grandson of Abraham, with whom the race of 
the Hebrews began. 559 For it was to this Israel also that it was said, “In thy seed shall all the 
tribes of the earth be blessed.” 560 Thus it is shown that the God of Israel, the true God who 
made heaven and earth, and who administers human affairs justly and mercifully in such 
wise that neither does justice exclude mercy with Him, nor does mercy hinder justice, was 
not overcome Himself when His Hebrew people suffered their overthrow, in virtue of His 
permitting the kingdom and priesthood of that nation to be seized and subverted by the 
Romans. For now, indeed, by the might of this gospel of Christ, the true King and Priest, 
the advent of which was prefigured by that kingdom and priesthood, the God of Israel 
Himself is everywhere destroying the idols of the nations. And, in truth, it was to prevent 
that destruction that the Romans refused to admit the sacred rites of this God in the way 
that they admitted those of the gods of the other nations whom they conquered. Thus did 
He remove both kingdom and priesthood from the prophetic nation, because He who was 
promised to men through the agency of that people had already come. And by Christ the 
King He has brought into subjection to His own name that Roman empire by which the 
said nation was overcome; and by the strength and devotion of Christian faith, He has 
converted it so as to effect a subversion of those idols, the honour ascribed to which precluded 
His worship from obtaining entrance. 

22. 1 am of opinion that it was not by means of magical arts that Christ, previous to His 
birth among men, brought it about that those things which were destined to come to pass 
in the course of His history, were pre-announced by so many prophets, and prefigured also 


558 Et qui emit te, Deus Israel, universce terras vocabitur. Isa. liv. 5. [Compare the Hebrew, from which the 
Latin citation varies. — R.] 

559 In his Retractations (ii. 16) Augustin alludes to this sentence, and says that the word Hebrews ( Hebrcei ) 
may be derived from Abraham, as if the original form had been Abrahcei, but that it is more correct to take it 
from Heber, so that Hebrcei is for Heberaei. He refers us also to his discussion in the City of God, xvi. 1 1 . 

560 Gen. xxviii. 14. 


187 


Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews, Although the People Were Conquered,... 


by the kingdom and priesthood established in a certain nation. For the people who are 
connected with that now abolished kingdom, and who in the wonderful providence of God 
are scattered throughout all lands, have indeed remained without any unction from the true 
King and Priest; in which anointing 561 the import of the name of Christ is plainly discovered. 
But notwithstanding this, they still retain remnants of some of their observances; while, on 
the other hand, not even in their state of overthrow and subjugation have they accepted 
those Roman rites which are connected with the worship of idols. Thus they still keep the 
prophetic books as the witness of Christ; and in this way in the documents of His enemies 
we find proof presented of the truth of this Christ who is the subject of prophecy. What, 

then, do these unhappy men disclose themselves to be, by the unworthy method in which 

c/r-j 

they laud the name of Christ? If anything relating to the practice of magic has been 
written under His name, while the doctrine of Christ is so vehemently antagonistic to such 
arts, these men ought rather in the light of this fact to gather some idea of the greatness of 
that name, by the addition of which even persons who live in opposition to His precepts 
endeavour to dignify their nefarious practices. For just as, in the course of the diverse errors 
of men, many persons have set up their varied heresies against the truth under the cover of 
His name, so the very enemies of Christ think that, for the purposes of gaining acceptance 
for opinions which they propound in opposition to the doctrine of Christ, they have no 
weight of authority at their service unless they have the name of Christ. 


561 Chrism. 

562 The text gives probetur veritas Christi, etc.; six mss. give profertur veritas, etc. — Migne. 

563 Or adduce — male laudando. 


188 



Of the Fact that the Pagans, When Constrained to Laud Christ, Have Launched... 


Chapter XV. — Of the Fact that the Pagans, When Constrained to Laud Christ, Have 

Launched Their Insults Against His Disciples. 

23. But what shall be said to this, if those vain eulogizers of Christ, and those crooked 
slanderers of the Christian religion, lack the daring to blaspheme Christ, for this particular 
reason that some of their philosophers, as Porphyry of Sicily 564 has given us to understand 
in his books, consulted their gods as to their response on the subject of [the claims of] Christ, 
and were constrained by their own oracles to laud Christ? Nor should that seem incredible. 
For we also read in the Gospel that the demons confessed Him; 565 and in our prophets it is 
written in this wise: “For the gods of the nations are demons.” 566 Thus it happens, then, 
that in order to avoid attempting aught in opposition to the responses of their own deities, 
they turn their blasphemies aside from Christ, and pour them forth against His disciples. 
It seems to me, however, that these gods of the Gentiles, whom the philosophers of the pagans 
may have consulted, if they were asked to give their judgment on the disciples of Christ, as 
well as on Christ Himself, would be constrained to praise them in like manner. 


564 The philosopher of the Neo-Platonic school, better known as one of the earliest and most learned antag- 
onists of Christianity. Though a native either of Tyre or Batanea, he is called here, as also again in the Retractations, 
ii. 31, a Sicilian, because, according to Jerome and Eusebius {Hist. Eccles. vi. 19), it was in Sicily that he wrote 
his treatise in fifteen books against the Christian religion. — Tr. 

565 Luke iv. 41. 

566 Ps. xcvi. 5. [Comp 1 Cor. x. 20, where “demons” is the more correct rendering (so Revised Version 
margin and American revisers’ text). — R.] 


189 


Of the Fact That, on the Subject of the Destruction of Idols, the Apostles... 


Chapter XVI. — Of the Fact That, on the Subject of the Destruction of Idols, the 

Apostles Taught Nothing Different from What Was Taught by Christ or by the 
Prophets. 

24. Nevertheless these persons argue still to the effect that this demolition of temples, 
and this condemnation of sacrifices, and this shattering of all images, are brought about, 
not in virtue of the doctrine of Christ Himself, but only by the hand of His apostles, who, 
as they contend, taught something different from what He taught. They think by this device, 
while honouring and lauding Christ, to tear the Christian faith in pieces. For it is at least 
true, that it is by the disciples of Christ that at once the works and the words of Christ have 
been made known, on which this Christian religion is established, with which a very few 
people of this character are still in antagonism, who do not now indeed openly assail it, but 
yet continue even in these days to utter their mutterings against it. But if they refuse to believe 
that Christ taught in the way indicated, let them read the prophets, who not only enjoined 
the complete destruction of the superstitions of idols, but also predicted that this subversion 
would come to pass in Christian times. And if these spoke falsely, why is their word fulfilled 
with so mighty a demonstration? But if they spoke truly, why is resistance offered to such 
divine power? 


567 Or, to such power in interpreting the divine mind — tantce divinitati resistatur. 


190 



In Opposition to the Romans Who Rejected the God of Israel Alone. 


Chapter XVII. — In Opposition to the Romans Who Rejected the God of Israel Alone. 

25. However, here is a matter which should meet with more careful consideration at 
their hands, — namely, what they take the God of Israel to be, and why they have not admitted 
Him to the honours of worship among them, in the way that they have done with the gods 
of other nations that have been made subject to the imperial power of Rome? This question 
demands an answer all the more, when we see that they are of the mind that all the gods 
ought to be worshipped by the man of wisdom. Why, then, has He been excluded from the 
number of these others? If He is very mighty, why is He the only deity that is not worshipped 
by them? If He has little or no might, why are the images of other gods broken in pieces by 
all the nations, while He is now almost the only God that is worshipped among these peoples? 
From the grasp of this question these men shall never be able to extricate themselves, who 
worship both the greater and the lesser deities, whom they hold to be gods, and at the same 
time refuse to worship this God, who has proved Himself stronger than all those to whom 

(“/TO 

they do service. If He is [a God] of great virtue, why has He been deemed worthy only 

of rejection? And if He is [a God] of little or no power, why has He been able to accomplish 
so much, although rejected? If He is good, why is He the only one separated from the other 
good deities? And if He is evil, why is He, who stands thus alone, not subjugated by so many 
good deities? If He is truthful, why are His precepts scorned? And if He is a liar, why are 
His predictions fulfilled? 



568 Or, power — virtutis. 


191 



Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews is Not Received by the Romans, Because... 


Chapter XVIII. — Of the Fact that the God of the Hebrews is Not Received by the 

Romans, Because His Will is that He Alone Should Be Worshipped. 

26. In fine, they may think of Him as they please. Still, we may ask whether it is the case 
that the Romans refuse to consider evil deities as also proper objects of worship, — those 
Romans who have erected fanes to Pallor and Fever, and who enjoin both that the good 
demons are to been treated, 569 and that the evil demons are to be propitiated. Whatever 
their opinion, then, of Him may be, the question still is, Why is He the only Deity whom 
they have judged worthy neither of being called upon for help, nor of being propitiated? 
What God is this, who is either one so unknown, that He is the only one not discovered as 
yet among so many gods, or who is one so well known that He is now the only one wor- 
shipped by so many men? There remains, then, nothing which they can possibly allege in 
explanation of their refusal to admit the worship of this God, except that His will was that 
He alone should be worshipped; and His command was, that those gods of the Gentiles that 
they were worshipping at the time should cease to be worshipped. But an answer to this 
other question is rather to be required of them, namely, what or what manner of deity they 
consider this God to be, who has forbidden the worship of those other gods for whom they 
erected temples and images, — this God, who has also been possessed of might so vast that 
His will has prevailed more in effecting the destruction of their images than theirs has availed 
to secure the non-admittance of His worship. And, indeed, the opinion of that philosopher 
of theirs is given in plain terms, whom, even on the authority of their own oracle, they have 
maintained to have been the wisest of all men. For the opinion of Socrates is, that every 
deity whatsoever ought to be worshipped just in the manner in which he may have ordained 
that he should be worshipped. Consequently it became a matter of the supremest necessity 
with them to refuse to worship the God of the Hebrews. For if they were minded to worship 
Him in a method different from the way in which He had declared that He ought to be 
worshipped, then assuredly they would have been worshipping not this God as He is, but 
some figment of their own. And, on the other hand, if they were willing to worship Him in 
the manner which He had indicated, then they could not but perceive that they were not at 
liberty to worship those other deities whom He interdicted them from worshipping. Thus 
was it, therefore, that they rejected the service of the one true God, because they were afraid 
that they might offend the many false gods. For they thought that the anger of those deities 
would be more to their injury, than the goodwill of this God would be to their profit. 


569 The text gives invitandos; others read imitandos , to be imitated. 


192 



The Proof that This God is the True God. 


Chapter XIX. — The Proof that This God is the True God. 

27. But that must have been a vain necessity and a ridiculous timidity. We ask now 
what opinion regarding this God is formed by those men whose pleasure it is that all gods 
ought to be worshipped. For if He ought not to be worshipped, how are all worshipped 
when He is not worshipped? And if He ought to be worshipped, it cannot be that all others 
are to be worshipped along with Him. For unless He is worshipped alone, He is really not 
worshipped at all. Or may it perhaps be the case, that they will allege Him to be no God at 
all, while they call those gods who, as we believe, have no power to do anything except so 
far as permission is given them by His judgment, — have not merely no power to do good 
to any one, but no power even to do harm to any, except to those who are judged by Him, 
who possesses all power, to merit so to be harmed? But, as they themselves are compelled 
to admit, those deities have shown less power than He has done. For if those are held to be 
gods whose prophets, when consulted by men, have returned responses which, that I may 
not call them false, were at least most convenient for their private interests, how is not He 
to be regarded as God whose prophets have not only given the congruous answer on subjects 
regarding which they were consulted at the special time, but who also, in the case of subjects 
respecting which they were not consulted, and which related to the universal race of man 
and all nations, have announced prophetically so long time before the event those very 
things of which we now read, and which indeed we now behold? If they gave the name of 

C7- 1 

god to that being under whose inspiration the Sibyl sung of the fates of the Romans, how 

is not He (to be called) God, who, in accordance with the announcement aforetime given, 
has shown us how the Romans and all nations are coming to believe in Himself through the 
gospel of Christ, as the one God, and to demolish all the images of their fathers? Finally, if 
they designate those as gods who have never dared through their prophets to say anything 
against this God, how is not He (to be designated) God, who not only commanded by the 
mouth of His prophets the destruction of their images, but who also predicted that among 
all the Gentiles they would be destroyed by those who should be enjoined to abandon their 
idols and to worship Him alone, and who, on receiving these injunctions, should be His 

c 79 

servants? 


570 Or, Away with that vain necessity and ridiculous timidity — Sedfuerit ista vana necessitas, etc. 

571 Reading fata. Seven mss. give facta = deeds. 

572 [This reference to the destruction of idols has been used to fix the date of the Harmony; see Introductory 
Notice of translator. The polemic character of the larger part of Book i. seems due to the circumstances of that 
particular period in North Africa. — R.] 


193 



Of the Fact that Nothing is Discovered to Have Been Predicted by the Prophets... 


Chapter XX. — Of the Fact that Nothing is Discovered to Have Been Predicted by 

the Prophets of the Pagans in Opposition to the God of the Hebrews. 

28. Or let them aver, if they are able, that some Sibyl of theirs, or any one whatever 
among their other prophets, announced long ago that it would come to pass that the God 
of the Hebrews, the God of Israel, would be worshipped by all nations, declaring, at the 
same time, that the worshippers of other gods before that time had rightly rejected Him; 

cn'y 

and again, that the compositions of His prophets would be in such exalted authority, 
that in obedience to them the Roman government itself would command the destruction 
of images, the said seers at the same time giving warning against acting upon such ordin- 
ances; — let them, I say, read out any utterances like these, if they can, from any of the books 
of their prophets. For I stop not to state that those things which we can read in their books 
repeat a testimony on behalf of our religion, that is, the Christian religon, which they might 
have heard from the holy angels and from our prophets themselves; just as the very devils 
were compelled to confess Christ when He was present in the flesh. But I pass by these 
matters, regarding which, when we bring them forward, their contention is that they were 
invented by our party. Most certainly, however, they may themselves be pressed to adduce 
anything which has been prophesied by the seers of their own gods against the God of the 
Hebrews; as, on our side, we can point to declarations so remarkable at once for number 
and for weight recorded in the books of our prophets against their gods, in which also we 
can both note the command and recite the prediction and demonstrate the event. And over 
the realization of these things, that comparatively small number of heathens who have re- 
mained such are more inclined to grieve than they are ready to acknowledge that God who 
has had the power to foretell these things as events destined to be made good; whereas in 
their dealings with their own false gods, who are genuine demons, they prize nothing else 
so highly as to be informed by their responses of something which is to take place with 
them. 574 


573 Reading futuras etiam litteras...in auctoritate ita sublimi. Six mss. give futurum. . .sublimari, but with 
substantially the same sense. 

574 Nihil aliud pro magno appetant quam cum aliquid eorum responsis sibi futurum esse didicerint. 


194 



An Argument for the Exclusive Worship of This God, Who, While He Prohibits... 


Chapter XXI. — An Argument for the Exclusive Worship of This God, Who, While 

He Prohibits Other Deities from Being Worshipped, is Not Himself Interdicted 

by Other Divinities from Being Worshipped. 

29. Seeing, then, that these things are so, why do not these unhappy men rather appre- 
hend the fact that this God is the true God, whom they perceive to be placed in a position 
so thoroughly separated from the company of their own deities, that, although they are 
compelled to acknowledge Him to be God, those very persons who profess that all gods 
ought to be worshipped are nevertheless not permitted to worship Him along with the rest? 
Now, since these deities and this God cannot be worshipped together, why is not He selected 
who forbids those others to be worshipped; and why are not those deities abandoned, who 
do not interdict Him from being worshipped? Or if they do indeed forbid His worship, let 
the interdict be read. For what has greater claims to be recited to their people in their temples, 
in which the sound of no such thing has ever been heard? And, in good sooth, the prohibition 
directed by so many against one ought to be more notable and more potent than the 
prohibition launched by one against so many. For if the worship of this God is impious, 
then those gods are profitless, who do not interdict men from that impiety; but if the worship 
of this God is pious, then, as in that worship the commandment is given that these others 
are not to be worshipped, their worship is impious. If, again, those deities forbid His worship, 
but only so diffidently that they rather fear to be heard than dare to prohibit, who is so 
unwise as not to draw his own inference from the fact, who fails to perceive that this God 
ought to be chosen, who in so public a manner prohibits their worship, who commanded 
that their images should be destroyed, who foretold that demolition, who Himself effected 
it, in preference to those deities of whom we know not that they ordained abstinence from 
His worship, of whom we do not read that they foretold such an event, and in whom we do 
not see power sufficient to have it brought about? I put the question, let them give the answer: 
Who is this God, who thus harasses all the gods of the Gentiles, who thus betrays all their 
sacred rites, who thus renders them extinct? 


575 Reading notior; others give potior = preferable. [The text of Migne reads notior et potentior, but five mss. 
read notior et potior. The argument favours the former reading, and the latter can readily be accounted for. — R.] 

576 Some read audere timeant = fear to dare. But the mss. give more correctly audiri timeant = fear to be 
heard; i.e., the demons were afraid that, if they interdicted His worship, the true God might be made known by 
their own hand. — Migne. 


195 



Of the Opinion En tertained by the Gen tiles Regarding Our God. 


Chapter XXII. — Of the Opinion Entertained by the Gentiles Regarding Our God. 

30. But why do I interrogate men whose native wit has deserted them in answering the 
question as to who this God is? Some say that He is Saturn. I fancy the reason of that is 
found in the sanctification of the Sabbath; for those men assign that day to Saturn. But their 
own Varro, than whom they can point to no man of greater learning among them, thought 
that the God of the Jews was Jupiter, and he judged that it mattered not what name was 
employed, provided the same subject was understood under it; in which, I believe, we see 
how he was subdued by His supremacy. For, inasmuch as the Romans are not accustomed 
to worship any more exalted object than Jupiter, of which fact their Capitol is the open and 
sufficient attestation, and deem him to be the king of all gods; when he observed that the 
Jews worshipped the supreme God, he could not think of any object under that title other 
than Jupiter himself. But whether men call the God of the Hebrews Saturn, or declare Him 
to be Jupiter, let them tell us when Saturn dared to prohibit the worship of a second deity. 
He did not venture to interdict the worship even of this very Jupiter, who is said to have 
expelled him from his kingdom, — the son thus expelling the father. And if Jupiter, as the 
more powerful deity and the conqueror, has been accepted by his worshippers, then they 
ought not to worship Saturn, the conquered and expelled. But neither, on the other hand, 
did Jove put his worship under the ban. Nay, that deity whom he had power to overcome, 
he nevertheless suffered to continue a god. 


196 



Of the Follies Which the Pagans Flave Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 


Chapter XXIII. — Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding 

Jupiter and Saturn. 

31. These narratives of yours, say they, are but fables which have to be interpreted by 
the wise, or else they are fit only to be laughed at; but we revere that Jupiter of whom Maro 
says that 

“All things are full of Jove,” 

— Virgil’s Eclogues, iii. v. 60; 

rnn 

that is to say, the spirit of life that vivifies all things. It is not without some reason, 
therefore, that Varro thought that Jove was worshipped by the Jews; for the God of the Jews 
says by His prophet, “I fill heaven and earth.” But what is meant by that which the same 
poet names Ether? How do they take the term? For he speaks thus: 

“Then the omnipotent father Ether, with fertilizing showers, 

Came down into the bosom of his fruitful spouse.” 

— Virgil’s Georgies, ii. 325. 

ryo 

They say, indeed, that this Ether is not spirit, but a lofty body in which the heaven 

ron 

is stretched above the air. Is liberty conceded to the poet to speak at one time in the lan- 
guage of the followers of Plato, as if God was not body, but spirit, and at another time in 
the language of the Stoics, as if God was a body? What is it, then, that they worship in their 
Capitol? If it is a spirit, or if again it is, in short, the corporeal heaven itself, then what does 
that shield of Jupiter there which they style the TEgis? The origin of that name, indeed, is 

co 1 

explained by the circumstance that a goat' nourished Jupiter when he was concealed by 
his mother. Or is this a fiction of the poets? But are the capitols of the Romans, then, also 
the mere creations of the poets? And what is the meaning of that, certainly not poetical, but 
unmistakeably farcical, variability of yours, in seeking your gods according to the ideas of 
philosophers in books, and revering them according to the notions of poets in your temples? 

32. But was that Euhemerus also a poet, who declares both Jupiter himself, and his 
father Saturn, and Pluto and Neptune his brothers, to have been men, in terms so exceedingly 
plain that their worshippers ought all the more to render thanks to the poets, because their 
inventions have not been intended so much to disparage them as rather to dress them up? 


577 Or, the breathed air — spiritum. 

578 Jer. xxiii. 24. 

579 Spiritum, breath. 

580 Aerem. 

581 Alluding to the derivation of the word JEgis = dlyR, a goatskin, from the Greek aiT = goat. 


197 


Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 


cot 

Albeit Cicero " mentions that this same Euhemerus was translated into Latin by the poet 

(TOO 

Ennius. Or was Cicero himself a poet, who, in counselling the person with whom he de- 

bates in his Tusculan Disputations, addresses him as one possessing knowledge of things 
secret, in the following terms: “If, indeed, I were to attempt to search into antiquity, and 
produce from thence the subjects which the writers of Greece have given to the world, it 
would be found that even those deities who are reckoned gods of the higher orders have 
gone from us into heaven. Ask whose sepulchres are pointed out in Greece: call to mind, 
since you have been initiated, the things which are delivered in the mysteries: then, doubtless, 
you will comprehend how widely extended this belief is.” This author certainly makes 
ample acknowledgment of the doctrine that those gods of theirs were originally men. He 
does, indeed, benevolently surmise that they made their way into heaven. But he did not 

(TOC 

hesitate to say in public, that even the honour thus given them in general repute was 
conferred upon them by men, when he spoke of Romulus in these words: “By good will and 

it o/r 

repute we have raised to the immortal gods that Romulus who founded this city.” How 
should it be such a wonderful thing, therefore, to suppose that the more ancient men did 
with respect to Jupiter and Saturn and the others what the Romans have done with respect 
to Romulus, and what, in good truth, they have thought of doing even in these more recent 
times also in the case of Caesar? And to these same Virgil has addressed the additional flattery 
of song, saying: 

“Lo, the star of Caesar, descendant of Dione, arose.” 

— Eclogue, ix. ver. 47. 

Let them see to it, then, that the truth of history do not turn out to exhibit to our view 
sepulchres erected for their false gods here upon the earthland let them take heed lest the 
vanity of poetry, instead of fixing, may be but feigning 587 stars for their deities there in 
heaven. For, in reality, that one is not the star of Jupiter, neither is this one the star of Saturn; 
but the simple fact is, that upon these stars, which were set from the foundation of the world, 
the names of those persons were imposed after their death by men who were minded to 


582 See the first book of his De Natura Deorum , c. 42. Compare also Lactantius, De Falsa Religione, i. 11; and 
Varro, De Re Rustica , i. 48. 

583 The father of Roman literature, born B.C. 239 at Rudiae in Calabria, both a poet and a man of learning, 
and well versed, among other things, in Oscan, Latin, and Greek — linguistic accomplishments beyond his day. 
Of his writings we now possess only fragments, preserved by Cicero, Macrobius, Aulus Gellius, and others. 

584 Tusculan Disputations, Book i. 13. 

585 Honorem opinionis. 

586 From the Third Oration against Catiline, § 1. 

587 Non figat sed fingat. 


198 



Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 


honour them as gods on their departure from this life. And with respect to these we may, 
indeed, ask how there should be such ill desert in chastity, or such good desert in voluptu- 
ousness, that Venus should have a star, and Minerva be denied one among those luminaries 
which revolve along with the sun and moon? 

33. But it may be said that Cicero, the Academic sage, who has been bold enough to 
make mention of the sepulchres of their gods, and to commit the statement to writing, is a 
more doubtful authority than the poets; although he did not presume to offer that assertion 
simply as his own personal opinion, but put it on record as a statement contained among 
the traditions of their own sacred rites. Well, then, can it also be maintained that Varro 
either gives expression merely to an invention of his own, as a poet might do, or puts the 
matter only dubiously, as might be the case with an Academician, because he declares that, 
in the instance of all such gods, the matters of their worship had their origin either in the 
life which they lived, or in the death which they died, among men? Or was that Egyptian 

roo 

priest, Leon, either a poet or an Academician, who expounded the origin of those gods 
of theirs to Alexander of Macedon, in a way somewhat different indeed from the opinion 
advanced by the Greeks, but nevertheless so far accordant therewith as to make out their 
deities to have been originally men? 

34. But what is all this to us? Let them assert that they worship Jupiter, and not a 
dead man; let them maintain that they have dedicated their Capitol not to a dead man, but 
to the Spirit that vivifies all things and fills the world. And as to that shield of his, which was 
made of the skin of a she-goat in honour of his nurse, let them put upon it whatever inter- 
pretation they please. What do they say, however, about Saturn? 590 What is it that they 
worship under the name of Saturn? Is not this the deity that was the first to come down to 
us from Olympus (of whom the poet sings): 

“Then from Olympus’ height came down 
Good Saturn, exiled from his crown 
By Jove, his mightier heir: 

He brought the race to union first 


588 On this Leo or Leon, see also Augustin’s City of God, viii. 5. Reference is often made to him by early 
Christian writers as a thinker agreeing so far with the principles of Euhemerus (in whose time, or perhaps 
somewhat before it, he flourished) as to teach that the gods of the old heathen world were originally men. He 
is mentioned by Arnobius, Adversus Gentes, iv. 29; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, i. 23; Tertullian, De Corona, 
c. 7; Tatian, etc. 

589 Reading, with Migne, Sed quid ad nos ? Dicant se Jovem, etc. Others give, Sed quid ad nos si decant, etc. 
= But what is it to us although they say that they worship, etc. The si, however, is wanting in the mss. 

590 Reading, with Migne, Quid dicunt de Saturno? Quem, etc. Others give, Quid dicunt de Saturno qui = 
What do those say about Saturn who worship Saturn? The mss. have quem. 


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Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 


Erewhile, on mountain-tops dispersed, 

And gave them statutes to obey, 

And willed the land wherein he lay 
Should Latium’s title bear.” 

— Virgil’s TEneid, viii. 320-324, Conington’s trans. 

Does not his very image, made as it is with the head covered, present him as one under 
concealment? 591 Was it not he that made the practice of agriculture known to the people 
of Italy, a fact which is expressed by the reaping-hook? No, say they; for you may see 

rno 

whether the being of whom such things are recorded was a man, and indeed one partic- 

ular king: we, however, interpret Saturn to be universal Time, as is signified also by his 
name in Greek: for he is called Chronus , 594 which word, with the aspiration thus given it, 
is also the vocable for time: whence, too, in Latin he gets the name of Saturn, as if it meant 
that he is sated 595 with years. But now, what we are to make of people like these I know not, 
who, in their very effort to put a more favourable meaning upon the names and the images 
of their gods, make the confession that the very god who is their major deity, and the father 
of the rest, is Time. For what else do they thus betray but, in fact, that all those gods of theirs 
are only temporal, seeing that the very parent of them all is made out to be Time? 

35. Accordingly, their more recent philosophers of the Platonic school, who have 
flourished in Christian times, have been ashamed of such fancies, and have endeavoured to 
interpret Saturn in another way, affirming that he received the name Xpovop 596 in order to 

CQ7 

signify, as it were, the fulness of intellect; their explanation being, that in Greek fulness 
is expressed by the term yopop, 598 and intellect or mind by the term voup; 599 which etymo- 
logy seems to be favoured also by the Latin name, on the supposition that the first part of 
the word (Saturnus) came from the Latin, and the second part from the Greek: so that he 
got the title Saturnus as an equivalent to satur, voup. 600 For they saw how absurd it was to 


591 Quasi latentem indicat, in reference to the story introduced in the Virgilian passage, that the country got 
its name, Latium, from the disappearance of the god. 

592 The statue of Saturn represented him with a sickle or pruning-knife in his hand. 

593 Migne’s text gives, on the authority of mss., the reading, Nam videris si fuit ille homo, etc. Others edit, 
Nam tametsi fuerit ille, etc. = For although he may have been a man. . .yet we interpret, etc. 

594 For Kronos. 

595 Saturetur — saturated, abundantly furnished. 

596 Chronos, Kronos. 

597 Or satiety. 

598 Choros. 

599 Nous. 

600 Full, mind. 


200 



Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 


have that Jupiter regarded as a son of Time, whom they either considered, or wished to have 
considered, eternal deity. Furthermore, however, according to this novel interpretation, 
which it is marvellous that Cicero and Varro should have suffered to escape their notice, if 
their ancient authorities really had it, they call Jupiter the son of Saturn, thus denoting him, 
it maybe, as the spirit that proceedeth forth from that supreme mind — the spirit which they 
choose to look upon as the soul of this world, so to speak, filling alike all heavenly and all 
earthly bodies. Whence comes also that saying of Maro, which I have cited a little ago, 
namely, “All things are full of Jove”? Should they not, then, if they are possessed of the 
ability, alter the superstitions indulged in by men, just as they alter their interpretation; and 
either erect no images at all, or at least build capitols to Saturn rather than to Jupiter? For 
they also maintain that no rational soul can be produced gifted with wisdom, except by 
participation in that supreme and unchangeable wisdom of his; and this affirmation they 
advance not only with respect to the soul of a man, but even with respect to that same soul 
of the world which they also designate Jove. Now we not only concede, but even very partic- 
ularly proclaim, that there is a certain supreme wisdom of God, by participation in which 
every soul whatsoever that is constituted truly wise acquires its wisdom. But whether that 
universal corporeal mass, which is called the world, has a kind of soul, or, so to speak, its 
own soul, that is to say, a rational life by which it can govern its own movements, as is the 
case with every sort of animal, is a question both vast and obscure. That is an opinion which 
ought not to be affirmed, unless its truth is clearly ascertained; neither ought it to be rejected, 
unless its falsehood is as clearly ascertained. And what will it matter to man, even should 
this question remain for ever unsolved, since, in any case, no soul becomes wise or blessed 
by drawing from any other soul but from that one supreme and immutable wisdom of God? 

36. The Romans, however, who have founded a Capitol in honour of Jupiter, but none 
in honour of Saturn, as also these other nations whose opinion it has been that Jupiter ought 
to be worshipped pre-eminently and above the rest of the gods, have certainly not agreed 
in sentiment with the persons referred to; who, in accordance with that mad view of theirs, 
would dedicate their loftiest citadels 601 rather to Saturn, if they had any power in these 
things, and who most particularly would annihilate those mathematicians and nativity- 
spinners by whom this Saturn, whom their opponents would designate the maker of the 
wise, has been placed with the character of a deity of evil among the other stars. But this 
opinion, nevertheless, has prevailed so mightily against them in the mind of humanity, that 

CUT 

men decline even to name that god, and call him Ancient rather than Saturn; and that in 
so fearful a spirit of superstition, that the Carthaginians have now gone very near to change 


601 Reading arces. Some editions give artes = arts. 

602 Genethliacos. 

603 Senex. 

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Of the Follies Which the Pagans Have Indulged in Regarding Jupiter and ... 

the designation of their town, and call it the town of the Ancient 604 more frequently than 
the town of Saturn . 605 


604 Vicus Senis. 

605 Vicus Saturni. 


202 



Of the Fact that Those Persons Who Reject the God of Israel, in Consequence... 


Chapter XXIV. — Of the Fact that Those Persons Who Reject the God of Israel, in 

Consequence Fail to Worship All the Gods; And, on the Other Hand, that Those 

Who Worship Other Gods, Fail to Worship Him. 

37. It is well understood, therefore, what these worshippers of images are convicted in 
reality of revering, and what they attempt to colour over. 606 But even these new interpreters 
of Saturn must be required to tell us what they think of the God of the Hebrews. For to them 
also it seemed right to worship all the gods, as is done by the heathen nations, because their 
pride made them ashamed to humble themselves under Christ for the remission of their 
sins. What opinion, therefore, do they entertain regarding the God of Israel? For if they do 
not worship Him then they do not worship all gods; and if they do worship Him, they do 
not worship Him in the way that He has ordained for His own worship, because they worship 
others also whose worship He has interdicted. Against such practices He issued His prohib- 
ition by the mouth of those same prophets by whom He also announced beforehand the 
destined occurrence of those very things which their images are now sustaining at the hands 
of the Christians. For whatever the explanation may be, whether it be that the angels were 
sent to those prophets to show them figuratively, and by the congruous forms of visible 
objects, the one true God, the Creator of all things, to whom the whole universe is made 
subject, and to indicate the method in which He enjoined His own worship to proceed; or 
whether it was that the minds of some among them were so mightily elevated by the Holy 
Spirit, as to enable them to see those things in that kind of vision in which the angels 
themselves behold objects: in either case it is the incontestable fact, that they did serve that 
God who has prohibited the worship of other gods; and, moreover, it is equally certain, that 
with the faithfulness of piety, in the kingly and in the priestly office, they ministered at once 
for the good of their country, and in the interest of those sacred ordinances which were 
significant of the coming of Christ as the true King and Priest. 


606 Reading colorare, as in the mss. Some editions give colere = revere. 


203 



Of the Fact that the False Gods Do Not Forbid Others to Be Worshipped Along... 


Chapter XXV. — Of the Fact that the False Gods Do Not Forbid Others to Be Wor- 
shipped Along with Themselves. That the God of Israel is the True God, is Proved 

by His Works, Both in Prophecy and in Fulfilment. 

38. But further, in the case of the gods of the Gentiles (in their willingness to worship 

whom they exhibit their unwillingness to worship that God who cannot be worshipped to- 
gether with them), let them tell us the reason why no one is found in the number of their 
deities who thinks of interdicting the worship of another; while they institute them in different 
offices and functions, and hold them to preside each one over objects which pertain properly 
to his own special province. For if Jupiter does not prohibit the worship of Saturn, because 
he is not to be taken merely for a man, who drove another man, namely his father, out of 
his kingdom, but either for the body of the heavens, or for the spirit that fills both heaven 
and earth, and because thus he cannot prevent that supernal mind from being worshipped, 
from which he is said to have emanated: if, on the same principle also, Saturn cannot interdict 
the worship of Jupiter, because he is not [to be supposed to be merely] one who was 
conquered by that other in rebellion, — as was the case with a person of the same name, by 
the hand of some one or other called Jupiter, from whose arms he was fleeing when he came 
into Italy, — and because the primal mind favours the mind that springs from it: yet Vulcan 
at least might [be expected to] put under the ban the worship of Mars, the paramour of his 
wife, and Hercules [might be thought likely to interdict] the worship of Juno, his persecutor. 
What kind of foul consent must subsist among them, if even Diana, the chaste virgin, fails 
to interdict the worship, I do not say merely of Venus, but even of Priapus? For if the same 
individual decides to be at once a hunter and a farmer, he must be the servant of both these 
deities; and yet he will be ashamed to do even so much as erect temples for them side by 
side. But they may aver, that by interpretation Diana means a certain virtue, be it what they 
please; and they may tell us that Priapus really denotes the deity of fecundity, — to such 

an effect, at any rate, that Juno may well be ashamed to have such a coadjutor in the task of 
making females fruitful. They may say what they please; they may put any explanation upon 
these things which in their wisdom they think fit: only, in spite of all that, the God of Israel 
will confound all their argumentations. For in prohibiting all those deities from being wor- 
shipped, while His own worship is hindered by none of them, and in at once commanding, 
foretelling, and effecting destruction for their images and sacred rites, He has shown with 
sufficient clearness that they are false and lying deities, and that He Himself is the one true 
and truthful God. 

39. Moreover, to whom should it not seem strange that those worshippers, now become 
few in number, of deities both numerous and false, should refuse to do homage to Him of 
whom, when the question is put to them as to what deity He is; they dare not at least assert, 


607 Reading fecunditatis. Fceditatis, foulness, also occurs. 


204 



Of the Fact that the False Gods Do Not Forbid Others to Be Worshipped Along... 


whatever answer they may think to give, that He is no God at all? For if they deny His deity, 
they are very easily refuted by His works, both in prophecy and in fulfilment. I do not speak 
of those works which they deem themselves at liberty not to credit, such as His work in the 

coo 

beginning, when He made heaven and earth, and all that is in them. Neither do I specify 
here those events which carry us back into the remotest antiquity, such as the translation 
of Enoch , 609 the destruction of the impious by the flood, and the saving of righteous Noah 
and his house from the deluge, by means of the [ark of] wood . 610 I begin the statement of 
His doings among men with Abraham. To this man, indeed, was given by an angelic oracle 
an intelligible promise, which we now see in its realization. For to him it was said, “In thy 
seed shall all nations be blessed .” 611 Of his seed, then, sprang the people of Israel, whence 
came the Virgin Mary, who was the mother of Christ; and that in Him all the nations are 
blessed, let them now be bold enough to deny if they can. This same promise was made also 
to Isaac the son of Abraham. It was given again to Jacob the grandson of Abraham. This 

Jacob was also called Israel, from whom that whole people derived both its descent and its 
name so that indeed the God of this people was called the God of Israel: not that He is not 
also the God of the Gentiles, whether they are ignorant of Him or now know Him; but that 
in this people He willed that the power of His promises should be made more conspicuously 
apparent. For that people, which at first was multiplied in Egypt, and after a time was de- 
livered from a state of slavery there by the hand of Moses, with many signs and portents, 
saw most of the Gentile nations subdued under it, and obtained possession also of the land 
of promise, in which it reigned in the person of kings of its own, who sprang from the tribe 
of Judah. This Judah, also, was one of the twelve sons of Israel, the grandson of Abraham. 
And from him were descended the people called the Jews, who, with the help of God Himself, 
did great achievements, and who also, when He chastised them, endured many sufferings 
on account of their sins, until the coming of that Seed to whom the promise was given, in 
whom all the nations were to be blessed, and [for whose sake] they were willingly to break 
in pieces the idols of their fathers. 


608 Gen. i. 1. 

609 Gen. v. 24. 

610 Gen. vii. 

611 Gen. xxii. 18. 

Gen. xxvi. 4. 


612 


205 


Of the Fact that Idolatry Has Been Subverted by the Name of Christ, and... 


Chapter XXVI. — Of the Fact that Idolatry Has Been Subverted by the Name of Christ, 

and by the Faith of Christians According to the Prophecies. 

40. For truly what is thus effected by Christians is not a thing which belongs only to 
Christian times, but one which was predicted very long ago. Those very Jews who have re- 
mained enemies to the name of Christ, and regarding whose destined perfidy these proph- 
etic writings have not been silent, do themselves possess and peruse the prophet who says: 
“O Lord my God, and my refuge in the day of evil, the Gentiles shall come unto Thee from 
the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have worshipped mendacious idols, 

/T1 o 

and there is no profit in them.” ' Behold, that is now being done; behold, now the Gentiles 
are coming from the ends of the earth to Christ, uttering things like these, and breaking 
their idols! Of signal consequence, too, is this which God has done for His Church in its 
world-wide extension, in that the Jewish nation, which has been deservedly overthrown and 
scattered abroad throughout the lands, has been made to carry about with it everywhere the 
records of our prophecies, so that it might not be possible to look upon these predictions 
as concocted by ourselves; and thus the enemy of our faith has been made a witness to our 
truth. How, then, can it be possible that the disciples of Christ have taught what they have 
not learned from Christ, as those foolish men in their silly fancies object, with the view of 
getting the superstitious worship of heathen gods and idols subverted? Can it be said also 
that those prophecies which are still read in these days, in the books of the enemies of Christ, 
were the inventions of the disciples of Christ? 

41. Who, then, has effected the demolition of these systems but the God of Israel? For 
to this people was the announcement made by those divine voices which were addressed to 
Moses: “Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God.” 614 “Thou shalt not make unto thee 
any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth 
beneath.” 615 And again, in order that this people might put an end to these things wherever 
it received power to do so, this commandment was also laid upon the nation: “Thou shalt 
not bow down to their gods, nor serve them; thou shalt not do after their works, but thou 
shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” 616 But who shall say that 
Christ and Christians have no connection with Israel, seeing that Israel was the grandson 
of Abraham, to whom first, as afterwards to his son Isaac, and then to his grandson Israel 
himself, that promise was given, which I have already mentioned, namely: “In thy seed shall 


613 Jer. xvi. 19. 

614 Deut. vi. 4. [See Revised Version, text and margin, for the variations in the rendering of the Hebrew. 
Comp. Mark xii. 29 for similar variations in the passage as cited in the New Testament. — R.] 

615 Exod. xx. 4. 

616 Exod. xxiii. 24. [Simulacra eorum. The Revised Version renders “their pillars,” with “obelisks” in the 
margin. — R.] 


206 


Of the Fact that Idolatry Has Been Subverted by the Name of Christ, and... 


all nations be blessed”? That prediction we see now in its fulfilment in Christ. For it was of 
this line that the Virgin was born, concerning whom a prophet of the people of Israel and 
of the God of Israel sang in these terms: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; 
and they shall call His name Emmanuel.” For by interpretation, Emmanuel means, “God 

/T1 Q 

with us.” This God of Israel, therefore, who has interdicted the worship of other gods, 
who has interdicted the making of idols, who has commanded their destruction, who by 
His prophet has predicted that the Gentiles from the ends of the earth would say, “Surely 
our fathers have worshipped mendacious idols, in which there is no profit;” this same God 
is He who, by the name of Christ and by the faith of Christians, has ordered, promised, and 
exhibited the overthrow of all these superstitions. In vain, therefore, do these unhappy men, 
knowing that they have been prohibited from blaspheming the name of Christ, even by their 
own gods, that is to say, by the demons who fear the name of Christ, seek to make it out, 
that this kind of doctrine is something strange to Him, in the power of which the Christians 
dispute against idols, and root out all those false religions, wherever they have the opportun- 
ity. 


617 Vocabunt. 

618 Isa. vii. 14; Matt. i. 23. 


207 


An Argument Urging It Upon the Remnant of Idolaters that They Should at... 


Chapter XXVII. — An Argument Urging It Upon the Remnant of Idolaters that They 

Should at Length Become Servants of This True God, Who Everywhere is Sub- 
verting Idols. 

42. Let them now give their answer with respect to the God of Israel, to whom, as 
teaching and enj oining such things, witness is borne not only by the books of the Christians, 
but also by those of the Jews. Regarding Him, let them ask the counsel of their own deities, 
who have prevented the blaspheming of Christ. Concerning the God of Israel, let them give 
a contumelious response if they dare. But whom are they to consult? or where are they to 
ask counsel now? Let them peruse the books of their own authorities. If they consider the 
God of Israel to be Jupiter, as Varro has written (that I may speak for the time being in ac- 
cordance with their own way of thinking), why then do they not believe that the idols are 
to be destroyed by Jupiter? If they deem Him to be Saturn, 619 why do they not worship 
Him? Or why do they not worship Him in that manner in which, by the voice of those 
prophets through whom He has made good the things which He has foretold, He has or- 
dained His worship to be conducted? Why do they not believe that images are to be destroyed 
by Him, and the worship of other gods forbidden? If He is neither Jove nor Saturn (and 
surely, if He were one of these, He would not speak out so mightily against the sacred rites 
of their Jove and Saturn), who then is this God, who, with all their consideration for other 
gods, is the only Deity not worshipped by them, and who, nevertheless, so manifestly brings 
it about that He shall Himself be the sole object of worship, to the overthrow of all other 
gods, and to the humiliation of everything proud and highly exalted, which has lifted itself 
up against Christ in behalf of idols, persecuting and slaying Christians? But, in good truth, 
men are now asking into what secret recesses these worshippers withdraw, when they are 
minded to offer sacrifice; or into what regions of obscurity they thrust back these same gods 
of theirs, to prevent their being discovered and broken in pieces by the Christians. Whence 
comes this mode of dealing, if not from the fear of those laws and those rulers by whose 
instrumentality the God of Israel discovers His power, and who are now made subject to 
the name of Christ. And that it should be so He promised long ago, when He said by the 
prophet: “Yea, all kings of the earth shall worship Him: all nations shall serve Him.” 


619 Reading Si Saturnum putant. Others read, Si Saturnum Deum putant = if they deem Saturn to be God, 
etc. 

620 Ps.lxxii.il. 


208 


Of the Predicted Rejection of Idols. 


Chapter XXVIII. — Of the Predicted Rejection of Idols. 

43. It cannot be questioned that what was predicted at sundry times by His prophets is 
now being realized, — namely, the announcement that He would disclaim His impious people 
(not, indeed, the people as a whole, because even of the Israelites many have believed in 
Christ; for His apostles themselves belonged to that nation), and would humble every proud 
and injurious person, so that He should Himself alone be exalted, that is to say, alone be 
manifested to men as lofty and mighty; until idols should be cast away by those who believe, 
and be concealed by those who believe not; when the earth is broken by His fear, that is to 
say, when the men of earth are subdued by fear, to wit, by fearing His law, or the law of 
those who, being at once believers in His name and rulers among the nations, shall interdict 
such sacrilegious practices. 

44. For these things, which I have thus briefly stated in the way of introduction, and 
with a view to their readier apprehension, are thus expressed by the prophet: And now, O 
house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For He has disclaimed His 
people the house of Israel, because the country was replenished, as from the beginning, with 
their soothsayings as with those of strangers, and many strange children were born to them. 
For their country was replenished with silver and gold, neither was there any numbering of 
their treasures; their land also is full of horses, neither was there any numbering of their 
chariots: their land also is full of the abominations of the works of their own hands, and 
they have worshipped that which their own fingers have made. And the mean man has 
bowed himself, and the great man has humbled himself; and I will not forgive it them. 
And now enter ye into the rocks, and hide yourselves in the earth from before the fear of 
the Lord, and from the majesty of His power, when He arises to crush the earth: for the eyes 
of the Lord are lofty, and man is low; and the haughtiness of men shall be humbled, and the 
Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every 
one that is injurious and proud, and upon every one that is lifted up and humbled, and 
they shall be brought low; and upon every cedar of Lebanon of the high ones and the lifted 
up, 624 and upon every tree of the Lebanon of Bashan, 625 and upon every mountain, and 


621 Homo. 

622 Vir. 

623 The text gives humiliatum; but elatum seems to be required, corresponding with the LXX perewpov. 

624 Reading cedrum Libani excelsorum et elatorum, which is given by the mss., and is accordant with the 
LXX. utJjqAtov kou peretoptov. Some editions give cedrum Libani excelsam et elatam = Every high and elevated 
cedar of Lebanon. 

625 The LXX. here has kou £tu itfiv SevSpov |3aAdvou Baaav = And upon every tree of the acorn of Bashan. 
For the (3aAavou Augustin adopts Libani, as if he read in the Greek Ar(3avou. 


209 



Of the Predicted Rejection of Idols. 


upon every high hill, and upon every ship of the sea, and upon every spectacle of the 
beauty of ships. And the contumely of men shall be humbled and shall fall, and the Lord 
alone shall be exalted in that day; and all things made by hands they shall hide in dens, 
and in holes of the rocks, and in caves of the earth, from before the fear of the Lord, and 
from the majesty of His power, when He arises to crush the earth: for in that day a man shall 
cast away the abominations of gold and silver, the vain and evil things which they made for 
worship, in order to go into the clefts of the solid rock, and into the holes of the rocks, from 
before the fear of the Lord, and from the majesty of His power, when He arises to break the 

ff)0 

earth in pieces. 


626 The fifteenth verse of our version is wholly omitted. 

627 [Ver. 18, though very relevant, is omitted: “And the idols shalt utterly pass away.” — R.] 

628 Isa. ii. 5-21. [The variations from the Hebrew are quite numerous; compare the English versions. — R.] 

210 


Of the Question Why the Heathen Should Refuse to Worship the God of Israel;... 


Chapter XXIX. — Of the Question Why the Heathen Should Refuse to Worship the 

God of Israel; Even Although They Deem Him to Be Only the Presiding Divinity 

of the Elements? 

45. What do they say of this God of Sabaoth, which term, by interpretation, means the 
God of powers or of armies, inasmuch as the powers and the armies of the angels serve Him? 
What do they say of this God of Israel; for He is the God of that people from whom came 
the seed wherein all the nations were to be blessed? Why is He the only deity excluded from 
worship by those very persons who contend that all the gods ought to be worshipped? Why 
do they refuse their belief to Him who both proves other gods to be false gods, and also 
overthrows them? I have heard one of them declare that he had read, in some philosopher 
or other, the statement that, from what the Jews did in their sacred observances, he had 
come to know what God they worshipped. “He is the deity,” said he, “that presides over 
those elements of which this visible and material universe is constructed;” when in the Holy 
Scriptures of His prophets it is plainly shown that the people of Israel were commanded to 
worship that God who made heaven and earth, and from whom comes all true wisdom. But 
what need is there for further disputation on this subject, seeing that it is quite sufficient 
for my present purpose to point out how they entertain any kind of presumptuous opinions 
regarding that God whom yet they cannot deny to be a God? If, indeed, He is the deity that 
presides over the elements of which this world consists, why is He not worshipped in pref- 
erence to Neptune, who presides over the sea only? Why not, again, in preference to Silvanus, 
who presides over the fields and woods only? Why not in preference to the Sun, who presides 
over the day only, or who also rules over the entire heat of heaven? Why not in preference 
to the Moon, who presides over the night only, or who also shines pre-eminent for power 
over moisture? Why not in preference to Juno, who is supposed to hold possession of the 
air only? For certainly those deities, whoever they may be, who preside over the parts, must 
necessarily be under that Deity who wields the presidency over all the elements, and over 
the entire universe. But this Deity prohibits the worship of all those deities. Why, then, is it 
that these men, in opposition to the injunction of One greater than those deities, not only 
choose to worship them, but also decline, for their sakes, to worship Him? Not yet have they 
discovered any constant and intelligible judgment to pronounce on this God of Israel; neither 
will they ever discover any such judgment, until they find out that He alone is the true God, 
by whom all things were created. 


211 



Of the Fact That, as the Prophecies Flave Been Fulfilled, the God of Israel... 


Chapter XXX. — Of the Fact That, as the Prophecies Have Been Fulfilled, the God of 
Israel Has Now Been Made Known Everywhere. 

46. Thus it was with a certain person named Lucan, one of their great declaimers in 
verse. For a long time, as I believe, he endeavored to find out, by his own cogitations, or by 
the perusal of the books of his own fellow-countrymen, who the God of the Jews was; 
and failing to prosecute his inquiry in the way of piety, he did not succeed. Yet he chose 
rather to speak of Him as the uncertain God whom he did not find out, than absolutely to 
deny the title of God to that Deity of whose existence he perceived proofs so great. For he 
says: 

“And Judaea, devoted to the worship 
Of an uncertain God.” 630 

— Lucan, Book ii. towards the end. 

And as yet this God, the holy and true God of Israel, had not done by the name of Christ 
among all nations works so great as those which have been wrought after Lucan’s times up 

zro 1 

to our own day. But now who is so obdurate as not to be moved, who so dull as not to 
be inflamed, seeing that the saying of Scripture is fulfilled, “For there is not one that is hid 

/Tin 

from the heat thereof;” and seeing also that those other things which were predicted so 
long time ago in this same Psalm from which I have cited one little verse, are now set forth 
in their accomplishment in the clearest light? For under this term of the “heavens” the 
apostles of Jesus Christ were denoted, because God was to preside in them with a view to 
the publishing of the gospel. Now, therefore, the heavens have declared the glory of God, 
and the firmament has proclaimed the works of His hands. Day unto day has given forth 
speech, and night unto night has shown knowledge. Now there is no speech or language 
where their voices are not heard. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words 
to the end of the world. Now hath He set His tabernacle in the sun, that is, in manifestation; 
which tabernacle is His Church. For in order to do so (as the words proceed in the passage) 
He came forth from His chamber like a bridegroom; that is to say, the Word, wedded with 
the flesh of man, came forth from the Virgin’s womb. Now has He rejoiced as a strong man, 
and has run His race. Now has His going forth been made from the height of heaven, and 
His return even to the height of heaven. And accordingly, with the completest propriety, 

there follows upon this the verse which I have already mentioned: “And there is not one 


629 Per suorum libros. 

630 [...Et dedita sacris Incerti Judcea Dei. — R.] 

631 Reading torpidus-, for which others give tepidus, cool. 

632 Ps. xix. 6. 

633 [Ps. xix. 1-6, partly in citation, partly in allegorizing paraphrase. — R.] 


212 


Of the Fact That, as the Prophecies Flave Been Fulfilled, the God of Israel... 


that is hid from the heat thereof [or, His heat].” And still these men make choice of their 
little, weak, prating objections, which are like stubble to be reduced to ashes in that fire, 
rather than like gold to be purged of its dross by it; while at once the fallacious monuments 
of their false gods have been brought to nought, and the veracious promises of that uncertain 
God have been proved to be sure. 


213 



The Fulfilment of the Prophecies Concerning Christ. 


Chapter XXXI. — The Fulfilment of the Prophecies Concerning Christ. 

47. Wherefore let those evil applauders of Christ, who refuse to become Christians, desist 
from making the allegation that Christ did not teach that their gods were to be abandoned, 
and their images broken in pieces. For the God of Israel, regarding whom it was declared 
aforetime that He should be called the God of the whole earth, is now indeed actually called 
the God of the whole earth. By the mouth of His prophets He predicted that this would 
come to pass, and by Christ He did bring it eventually to pass at the fit time. Assuredly, if 
the God of Israel is now named the God of the whole earth, what He has commanded must 
needs be made good; for He who has given the commandment is now well known. But, 
further, that He is made known by Christ and in Christ, in order that His Church may be 
extended throughout the world, and that by its instrumentality the God of Israel may be 
named the God of the whole earth, those who please may read a little earlier in the same 
prophet. That paragraph may also be cited by me. It is not so long as to make it requisite 
for us to pass it by. Here there is much said about the presence, the humility, and the passion 
of Christ, and about the body of which He is the Head, that is, His Church, where it is called 
barren, like one that did not bear. For during many years the Church, which was destined 
to subsist among all the nations with its children, that is, with its saints, was not apparent, 
as Christ remained yet unannounced by the evangelists to those to whom He had not been 
declared by the prophets. Again, it is said that there shall be more children for her who is 
forsaken than for her who has a husband, under which name of a husband the Law was 
signified, or the King whom the people of Israel first received. For neither had the Gentiles 
received the Law at the period at which the prophet spake; nor had the King of Christians 
yet appeared to the nations, although from these Gentile nations a much more fruitful and 
numerous multitude of saints has now proceeded. It is in this manner, therefore, that Isaiah 
speaks, commencing with the humility 634 of Christ, and turning afterwards to an address 
to the Church, on to that verse which we have already instanced, where he says: And He 

zror 

who brought thee out, the same God of Israel, shall be called the God of the whole earth. 
Behold, says he, my Servant shall deal prudently, and shall be exalted and honoured exceed- 
ingly. As many shall be astonied at Thee; so shall Thy marred visage, nevertheless, be seen 
by all, and Thine honour by men. For so shall many nations be astonied at Him, and the 
kings shall shut their mouths. For they shall see to whom it has not been told of Him; and 
those who have not heard shall understand. O Lord, who hath believed our report, and to 
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have proclaimed before Him as a servant, as 
a root in a thirsty soil; He hath no form nor comeliness. And we have seen Him, and He 


634 Reading humilitate-, some editions give humanitate , the humanity. 

635 Isa. liv 5. 


636 Puer. 


214 


The Fulfilment of the Prophecies Concerning Christ. 


had neither beauty nor seemliness; but His countenance is despised, and His state rejected 
by all men: a man stricken, and acquainted with the bearing of infirmities; on account of 
which His face is turned aside, injured, and little esteemed. He bears our infirmities, and is 
in sorrows for us. And we did esteem Him to be in sorrows, and to be stricken and in pun- 
ishment. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and He was enfeebled for our 
iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. 
All we, like sheep, have gone astray, and the Lord hath given Him up for our sins. And 
whereas He was evil entreated, He opened not His mouth; He was brought as a sheep to the 
slaughter; and as a lamb before him who shears it is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. 
In humility was His judgment taken. Who shall declare His generation? For His life shall 
be cut off out of the land; by the iniquities of my people is He led to death. Therefore shall 
I give the wicked for His sepulture, and the rich on account of His death; because He did 
no iniquity, neither was any deceit in His mouth. The Lord is pleased to clear Him in regard 
to His stroke. If ye shall give your soul for your offences, ye shall see the seed of the longest 

life. And the Lord is pleased to take away His soul from sorrows, to show Him the light, and 

/TOO 

to set Him forth in sight, and to justify the righteous One who serves many well; and He 
shall bear their sins. Therefore shall He have many for His inheritance, and shall divide the 
spoils of the strong; for which reason His soul was delivered over to death, and He was 
numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and was delivered for their 
iniquities. Rejoice, O barren, thou that dost not bear: exult, and cry aloud, thou that dost 
not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than those of her who has a 
husband. For the Lord hath said, Enlarge the place of thy tent, and fix thy courts; there 
is no reason why thou shouldst spare: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen Thy stakes firmly. 
Yea, again and again break thou forth on the right hand and on the left. For thy seed shall 
inherit the Gentiles, and thou shall inhabit the cities which were desolate. There is nothing 
for thee to fear. For thou shall prevail, and be not thou confounded as if thou shall be put 
to shame. For thou shall forget thy confusion for ever: thou shall not remember the shame 
of thy widowhood, since I who made thee am the Lord; the Lord is His name: and He who 
brought thee out, the very God of Israel, shall be called the God of the whole earth. 640 

48. What can be said in opposition to this evidence, and this expression of things both 
foretold and fulfilled? If they suppose that His disciples have given a false testimony on the 
subject of the divinity of Christ, will they also doubt the passion of Christ? No: they are not 


637 Purgare deus ilium de plaga. 

638 Figurare per sensum = set forth in sensible figure. 

639 Reading aulas tuas confige-, others give caulas = thy folds. 

640 Isa. lii. 13-liv. 5. [The variations from the Hebrew, especially in some of the more obscure passages, are 
worthy of notice. Compare the Revised Version, text and margin, in loco. — R.] 


215 


The Fulfilment of the Prophecies Concerning Christ. 


accustomed to believe that He rose from the dead; but, at the same time, they are quite ready 
to believe that He suffered all that men are wont to suffer, because they wish Him to be held 
to be a man and nothing more. According to this, then, He was led like a sheep to the 
slaughter; He was numbered with the transgressors; He was wounded for our sins; by His 
stripes were we healed; His face was marred, and little esteemed, and smitten with the palms, 
and defiled with the spittle; His position was disfigured on the cross; He was led to death 
by the iniquities of the people Israel; He is the man who had no form nor comeliness when 
He was buffeted with the fists, when He was crowned with the thorns, when He was derided 
as He hung (upon the tree); He is the man who, as the lamb is dumb before its shearer, 
opened not His mouth, when it was said to Him by those who mocked Him, “Prophesy to 
us, thou Christ .” 641 Now, however, He is exalted verily, now He is honoured exceedingly; 
truly many nations are now astonied at Him . 642 Now the kings have shut their mouth, by 
which they were wont to promulgate the most ruthless laws against the Christians. Truly 
those now see to whom it was not told of Him, and those who have not heard understand . 643 
For those Gentile nations to whom the prophets made no announcement, do now rather 
see for themselves how true these things are which were of old reported by the prophets ; 644 
and those who have not heard Isaiah speak in his own proper person, now understand from 
his writings the things which he spoke concerning Him. For even in the said nation of the 
Jews, who believed the report of the prophets, or to whom was that arm of the Lord revealed, 
which is this very Christ who was announced by them , 645 seeing that by their own hands 
they perpetrated those crimes against Christ, the commission of which had been predicted 
by the prophets whom they possessed? But now, indeed, He possesses many by inheritance; 
and He divides the spoils of the strong, since the devil and the demons have now been cast 
out and given up, and the possessions once held by them have been distributed by Him 
among the fabrics of His churches and for other necessary services. 


641 Matt, xxvi., xxvii.; Mark xiv., xv.; Luke xxii., xxiii.; John xviii., xix. 

642 [Isa. lii. 15 (in the Revised Version): “So shall He sprinkle many nations,” with margin, “Or, startle.” — R.] 

643 Rom. xv. 16, 21. 

644 Magis ipsce vident quam vera nuntiata sint per prophetas. 

John xii. 37, 38; Rom. x. 16. 


645 


216 


A Statement in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Apostles as Opposed to... 


Chapter XXXII. — A Statement in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Apostles as 

Opposed to Idolatry, in the Words of the Prophecies. 

49. What, then, do these men, who are at once the perverse applauders of Christ and 
the slanderers of Christians, say to these facts? Can it be that Christ, by the use of magical 
arts, caused those predictions to be uttered so long ago by the prophets? or have His disciples 
invented them? Is it thus that the Church, in her extension among the Gentile nations, 
though once barren, has been made to rejoice now in the possession of more children than 
that synagogue had which, in its Law or its King, had received, as it were, a husband? or is 
it thus that this Church has been led to enlarge the place of her tent, and to occupy all nations 
and tongues, so that now she lengthens her cords beyond the limits to which the rights of 
the empire of Rome extend, yea, even on to the territories of the Persians and the Indians 
and other barbarous nations? or that, on the right hand by means of true Christians, and 
on the left hand by means of pretended Christians, His name is being made known among 
such a multitude of peoples? or that His seed is made to inherit the Gentiles, so as now to 
inhabit cities which had been left desolate of the true worship of God and the true religion? 
or that His Church has been so little daunted by the threats and furies of men, even at times 
when she has been covered with the blood of martyrs, like one clad in purple array, that she 
has prevailed over persecutors at once so numerous, so violent, and so powerful? or that 
she has not been confounded, like one put to shame, when it was a great crime to be or to 
become a Christian? or that she is made to forget her confusion for ever, because, where sin 
had abounded, grace did much more abound? 646 or that she is taught not to remember the 
shame of her widowhood, because only for a little was she forsaken and subjected to oppro- 
brium, while now she shines forth once more with such eminent glory? or, in fine, is it only 
a fiction concocted by Christ’s disciples, that the Lord who made her, and brought her forth 
from the denomination of the devil and the demons, the very God of Israel is now called 
the God of the whole earth; all which, nevertheless, the prophets, whose books are now in 
the hands of the enemies of Christ, foretold so long before Christ became the Son of man? 

50. From this, therefore, let them understand that the matter is not left obscure or 
doubtful even to the slowest and dullest minds: from this, I say, let these perverse applauders 
of Christ and execrators of the Christian religion understand that the disciples of Christ 
have learned and taught, in opposition to their gods, precisely what the doctrine of Christ 
contains. For the God of Israel is found to have enjoined in the books of the prophets that 
all these objects which those men are minded to worship should be held in abomination 
and be destroyed, while He Himself is now named the God of the whole earth, through the 
instrumentality of Christ and the Church of Christ, exactly as He promised so long time 
ago. For if, indeed, in their marvellous folly, they fancy that Christ worshipped their gods, 


646 Rom. v. 20. 


217 


A Statement in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Apostles as Opposed to... 


and that it was only through them that He had power to do things so great as these, we may 
well ask whether the God of Israel also worshipped their gods, who has now fulfilled by 
Christ what He promised with respect to the extension of His own worship through all the 
nations, and with respect to the detestation and subversion of those other deities ? 647 Where 
are their gods? Where are the vaticinations of their fanatics, and the divinations of their 
prophets ? 648 Where are the auguries, or the auspices, or the soothsayings , 649 or the oracles 
of demons? Why is it that, out of the ancient books which constitute the records of this type 
of religion, nothing in the form either of admonition or of prediction is advanced to oppose 
the Christian faith, or to controvert the truth of those prophets of ours, who have now come 
to be so well understood among all nations? “We have offended our gods,” they say in reply, 
“and they have deserted us for that reason: that explains it also why the Christians have 
prevailed against us, and why the bliss of human life, exhausted 650 and impaired, goes to 
wreck among us.” We challenge them, however, to take the books of their own seers, and 
read out to us any statement purporting that the kind of issue which has come upon them 
would be brought on them by the Christians: nay, we challenge them to recite any passages 
in which, if not Christ (for they wish to make Him out to have been a worshipper of their 
own gods), at least this God of Israel, who is allowed to be the subverter of other deities, is 
held up as a deity destined to be rejected and worthy of detestation. But never will they 
produce any such passage, unless, perchance, it be some fabrication of their own. And if 
ever they do cite any such statement, the fact that it is but a fiction of their own will betray 
itself in the unnoticeable manner in which a matter of so grave importance is found adduced; 
whereas, in good truth, before what has been predicted should have come to pass, it behoved 
to have been proclaimed in the temples of the gods of all nations, with a view to the timeous 
preparation and warning of all who are now minded 651 to be Christians. 


647 Deut. vii. 5. 

648 Pythonum. 

649 Aruspicia. 

650 Reading defessa-, others give depressa , crushed. 
Others read nolunt, who refuse. 


651 


218 


A Statement in Opposition to Those Who Make the Complaint that the Bliss. . . 


Chapter XXXIII. — A Statement in Opposition to Those Who Make the Complaint 

that the Bliss of Human Life Has Been Impaired by the Entrance of Christian 
Times. 

51. Finally, as to the complaint which they make with respect to the impairing of the 
bliss of human life by the entrance of Christian times, if they only peruse the books of their 
own philosophers, who reprehend those very things which are now being taken out of their 
way in spite of all their unwillingness and murmuring, they will indeed find that great praise 
is due to the times of Christ. For what diminution is made in their happiness, unless it be 
in what they most basely and luxuriously abused, to the great injury of their Creator? or 
unless, perchance, it be the case that evil times originate in such circumstances as these, in 
which throughout almost all states the theatres are failing, and with them, too, the dens of 
vice and the public profession of iniquity: yea, altogether the forums and cities in which the 
demons used to be worshipped are falling. How comes it, then, that they are falling, unless 
it be in consequence of the failure of those very things, in the lustful and sacrilegious use of 
which they were constructed? Did not their own Cicero, when commending a certain actor 
of the name of Roscius, call him a man so clever as to be the only one worthy enough to 
make it due for him to come upon the stage; and yet, again, so good a man as to be the only 

zr r-i 

one so worthy as to make it due for him not to approach it? What else did he disclose 
with such remarkable clearness by this saying, but the fact that the stage was so base there, 
that a person was under the greater obligation not to connect himself with it, in proportion 
as he was a better man than most? And yet their gods were pleased with such things of shame 
as he deemed fit only to be removed to a distance from good men. But we have also an open 
confession of the same Cicero, where he says that he had to appease Flora, the mother of 

zr n 

sports, by frequent celebration; in which sports such an excess of vice is wont to be exhib- 

ited, that, in comparison with them, others are respectable, from engaging in which, never- 
theless, good men are prohibited. Who is this mother Flora, and what manner of goddess 
is she, who is thus conciliated and propitiated by a practice of vice indulged in with more 
than usual frequency and with looser reins? How much more honourable now was it for a 
Roscius to step upon the stage, than for a Cicero to worship a goddess of this kind! If the 
gods of the Gentile nations are offended because the supplies are lessened which are instituted 
for the purpose of such celebrations, it is apparent of what character those must be who are 
delighted with such things. But if, on the other hand, the gods themselves in their wrath 
diminish these supplies, their anger yields us better services than their placability. Wherefore 
let these men either confute their own philosophers, who have reprehended the same practices 
on the side of wanton men; or else let them break in pieces those gods of theirs who have 


652 See Cicero’s Oration in behalf of Roscius. 

653 See Cicero, Against Verres, 5. 


219 



A Statement in Opposition to Those Who Make the Complaint that the Bliss. . . 


made such demands upon their worshippers, if indeed they still find any such deities either 
to break in pieces or to conceal. But let them cease from their blasphemous habit of charging 
Christian times with the failure of their true prosperity, — a prosperity, indeed, so used by 
them that they were sinking into all that is base and hurtful, — lest thereby they be only 
putting us all the more emphatically in mind of reasons for the ampler praise of the power 
of Christ. 


220 



Epilogue to the Preceding. 


Chapter XXXIV. — Epilogue to the Preceding. 

52. Much more might I say on this subject, were it not that the requirements of the task 
which I have undertaken compel me to conclude this book, and revert to the object originally 
proposed. When, indeed, I took it in hand to solve those problems of the Gospels which 
meet us where the four evangelists, as it seems to certain critics, fail to harmonize with each 
other, by setting forth to the best of my ability the particular designs which they severally 
have in view, I was met first by the necessity of discussing a question which some are accus- 
tomed to bring before us, — the question, namely, as to the reason why we cannot produce 
any writings composed by Christ Himself. For their aim is to get Him credited with the 
writing of some other composition, I know not of what sort, which may be suitable to their 
inclinations, and with having indulged in no sentiments of antagonism to their gods, but 
rather with having paid respect to them in a kind of magical worship; and their wish is also 
to get it believed that His disciples not only gave a false account of Him when they declared 
Him to be the God by whom all things were made, while He was really nothing more than 
a man, although certainly a man of the most exalted wisdom, but also that they taught with 
regard to these gods of theirs something different from what they had themselves learned 
from Him. This is how it happens that we have been engaged preferentially in pressing them 
with arguments concerning the God of Israel, who is now worshipped by all nations through 
the medium of the Church of the Christians, who is also subverting their sacrilegious vanities 
the whole world over, exactly as He announced by the mouth of the prophets so long ago, 
and who has now fulfilled those predictions by the name of Christ, in whom He had 
promised that all nations should be blessed. And from all this they ought to understand that 
Christ could neither have known nor taught anything else with regard to their gods than 
what was enjoined and foretold by the God of Israel through the agency of these prophets 
of His by whom He promised, and ultimately sent, this very Christ, in whose name, according 
to the promise given to the fathers, when all nations were pronounced blessed, it has come 
to pass that this same God of Israel should be called the God of the whole earth. By this, too, 
they ought to see that His disciples did not depart from the doctrine of their Master when 
they forbade the worship of the gods of the Gentiles, with the view of preventing us from 
addressing our supplications to insensate images, or from having fellowship with demons, 
or from serving the creature rather than the Creator with the homage of religious worship. 


221 



Of the Fact that the Mystery of a Mediator Was Made Known to Those Who Lived... 


Chapter XXXV. — Of the Fact that the Mystery of a Mediator Was Made Known to 

Those Who Lived in Ancient Times by the Agency of Prophecy, as It is Now 

Declared to Us in the Gospel. 

53. Wherefore, seeing that Christ Himself is that Wisdom of God by whom all things 
were created, and considering that no rational intelligences, whether of angels or of men, 
receive wisdom except by participation in this Wisdom wherewith we are united by that 
Holy Spirit through whom charity is shed abroad in our hearts 654 (which Trinity at the 
same time constitutes one God), Divine Providence, having respect to the interests of mortal 
men whose time-bound life was held engaged in things which rise into being and die, 655 
decreed that this same Wisdom of God, assuming into the unity of His person the (nature 
of) man, in which He might be born according to the conditions of time, and live and die 
and rise again, should utter and perform and bear and sustain things congruous to our sal- 
vation; and thus, in exemplary fashion, show at once to men on earth the way for a return 
to heaven, and to those angels who are above us, the way to retain their position in heaven. 656 
For unless, also, in the nature of the reasonable soul, and under the conditions of an existence 
in time, something came newly into being, — that is to say, unless that began to be which 
previously was not, — there could never be any passing from a life of utter corruption and 
folly into one of wisdom and true goodness. And thus, as truth in the contemplative lives 
in the enjoyment of things eternal, while faith in the believing is what is due to things which 
are made, man is purified through that faith which is conversant with temporal things, in 
order to his being made capable of receiving the truth of things eternal. For one of their 
noblest intellects, the philosopher Plato, in the treatise which is named the Timceus, speaks 
also to this effect: “As eternity is to that which is made, so truth to faith.” Those two belong 
to the things above, — namely, eternity and truth; these two belong to the things be- 
low, — namely, that which is made and faith. In order, therefore, that we may be called off 
from the lowest objects, and led up again to the highest, and in order also that what is made 
may attain to the eternal, we must come through faith to truth. And because all contraries 
are reduced to unity by some middle factor, and because also the iniquity of time alienated 
us from the righteousness of eternity, there was need of some mediatorial righteousness of 
a temporal nature; which mediatizing factor might be temporal on the side of those lowest 


654 Rom. v. 5. 

655 In rebus orientibus et occidentibus occupata tenebatur. 

656 Fieret et deorsum hominibus exemplum redeundi et eis qui sursum sunt angelis exemplum manendi. 


222 


Of the Fact that the Mystery of a Mediator Was Made Known to Those Who Lived... 


objects, but also righteous on the side of these highest, and thus, by adapting itself to the 

former without cutting itself off from the latter, might bring back those lowest objects to 
the highest. Accordingly, Christ was named the Mediator between God and men, who stood 

/re o 

between the immortal God and mortal man, as being Himself both God and man, who 
reconciled man to God, who continued to be what He (formerly) was, but was made also 
what He (formerly) was not. And the same Person is for us at once the (centre of the) said 
faith in things that are made, and the truth in things eternal. 

54. This great and unutterable mystery, this kingdom and priesthood, was revealed by 
prophecy to the men of ancient time, and is now preached by the gospel to their descendants. 
For it behoved that, at some period or other, that should be made good among all nations 
which for a long time had been promised through the medium of a single nation. Accordingly, 
He who sent the prophets before His own descent also despatched the apostles after His 
ascension. Moreover, in virtue of the man 659 assumed by Him, He stands to all His disciples 
in the relation of the head to the members of His body. Therefore, when those disciples have 
written matters which He declared and spake to them, it ought not by any means to be said 
that He has written nothing Himself; since the truth is, that His members have accomplished 
only what they became acquainted with by the repeated statements of the Head. For all that 
He was minded to give for our perusal on the subject of His own doings and sayings, He 
commanded to be written by those disciples, whom He thus used as if they were His own 
hands. Whoever apprehends this correspondence of unity and this concordant service of 
the members, all in harmony in the discharge of diverse offices under the Head, will receive 
the account which he gets in the Gospel through the narratives constructed by the disciples, 
in the same kind of spirit in which he might look upon the actual hand of the Lord Himself, 
which He bore in that body which was made His own, were he to see it engaged in the act 
of writing. For this reason let us now rather proceed to examine into the real character of 
those passages in which these critics suppose the evangelists to have given contradictory 
accounts (a thing which only those who fail to understand the matter aright can fancy to be 
the case); so that, when these problems are solved, it may also be made apparent that the 
members in that body have preserved a befitting harmony in the unity of the body itself, 
not only by identity in sentiment, but also by constructing records consonant with that 
identity. 


657 Reading quee medietas temporalis esset de imis, justa de summis. Another version gives quee medietas 
temporalis esset de imis mixta et summis = which temporal mediatizing factor might be made up of the lowest 
and the highest objects together, or = which might be a temporal mediatizing factor made up, etc. 

658 1 Tim. ii. 5. 


659 Hominem. 


223 


Book II 


Book II. 

In this book Augustin undertakes an orderly examination of the Gospel accordingto Matthew, 
on to the narrative of the Supper, and institutes a comparison between it and the other 
gospels by Mark, Luke, and John, with the view of demonstrating a complete harmony 
between the four evangelists throughout all these sections. 


224 



The Prologue. 


The Prologue. 

1. Whereas, in a discourse of no small length and of imperative importance, which we 
have finished within the compass of one book, we have refuted the folly of those who think 
that the disciples who have given us these Gospel histories deserve only to be disparagingly 
handled, for the express reason that no writings are produced by us with the claim of being 
compositions which have proceeded immediately from the hand of that Christ whom they 
refuse indeed to worship as God, but whom, nevertheless, they do not hesitate to pronounce 
worthy to be honoured as a man far surpassing all other men in wisdom; and as, further, 
we have confuted those who strive to make Him out to have written in a strain suiting their 
perverted inclinations, but not in terms calculated, by their perusal and acceptance, to set 
men right, or to turn them from their perverse ways, let us now look into the accounts which 
the four evangelists have given us of Christ, with the view of seeing how self-consistent they 
are, and how truly in harmony with each other. And let us do so in the hope that no offence, 
even of the smallest order may be felt in this line of things in the Christian faith by those 
who exhibit more curiosity than capacity, in so far as they think that a study of the evangel- 
ical books, conducted not in the way of a merely cursory perusal, but in the form of a more 
than ordinarily careful investigation, has disclosed to them certain matters of an inapposite 
and contradictory nature, and in so far as their notion is, that these things are to be held up 
as objections in the spirit of contention, rather than pondered in the spirit of consideration. 


225 



A Statement of the Reason Why the Enumeration of the Ancestors of Christ... 


Chapter I. — A Statement of the Reason Why the Enumeration of the Ancestors of 

Christ is Carried Down to Joseph, While Christ Was Not Born of that Man’s 

Seed, But of the Virgin Mary. 

2. The evangelist Matthew has commenced his narrative in these terms: “The book of 
the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” 660 By this exordium 
he shows with sufficient clearness that his undertaking is to give an account of the generation 
of Christ according to the flesh. For, according to this, Christ is the Son of man, — a title 
which He also gives very frequently to Himself, 661 thereby commending to our notice what 
in His compassion He has condescended to be on our behalf. For that heavenly and eternal 
generation, in virtue of which He is the only-begotten Son of God, before every creature, 
because all things were made by Him, is so ineffable, that it is of it that the word of the 
prophet must be understood when he says, “Who shall declare His generation?” “ Matthew 
therefore traces out the human generation of Christ, mentioning His ancestors from Abraham 
downwards, and carrying them on to Joseph the husband of Mary, ofwhom Jesus was born. 
For it was not held allowable to consider him dissociated from the married estate which was 
entered into with Mary, on the ground that she gave birth to Christ, not as the wedded wife 
of Joseph, but as a virgin. For by this example an illustrious recommendation is made to 
faithful married persons of the principle, that even when by common consent they maintain 
their continence, the relation can still remain, and can still be called one of wedlock, inasmuch 
as, although there is no connection between the sexes of the body, there is the keeping of 
the affections of the mind; particularly so for this reason, that in their case we see how the 
birth of a son was a possibility apart from anything of that carnal intercourse which is to be 
practised with the purpose of the procreation of children only. Moreover, the mere fact that 
he had not begotten Him by act of his own, was no sufficient reason why Joseph should not 
be called the father of Christ; for indeed he could be in all propriety the father of one whom 
he had not begotten by his own wife, but had adopted from some other person. 

3. Christ, it is true, was also supposed to be the son of Joseph in another way, as if He 
had been born simply of that man’s seed. But this supposition was entertained by persons 
whose notice the virginity of Mary escaped. For Luke says: “And Jesus Himself began to be 
about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” ' This Luke, however, 
instead of naming Mary His only parent, had not the slightest hesitation in also speaking 


660 Matt. i. 1. 

661 Matt. viii. 20, ix. 6. 

662 Isa. liii. 8. 

663 Luke iii. 23. [Revised Version, “And Jesus Himself, when He began to teach , was about,” etc. The Latin, 
erat indpiens, conveys the same sense. — R.] 


226 


A Statement of the Reason Why the Enumeration of the Ancestors of Christ... 


of both parties as His parents, when he says: “And the boy grew and waxed strong, filled 
with wisdom, and the grace of God was in Him: and His parents went to Jerusalem every 
year at the feast of the passover .” 664 But lest any one may fancy that by the “parents” here 
are rather to be understood the blood relations of Mary along with the mother herself, what 
shall be said to that preceding word of the same Luke, namely, “And His father 665 and 
mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him ”? 666 Since, then, he also makes 
the statement that Christ was born, not in consequence of Joseph’s connection with the 
mother, but simply of Mary the virgin, how can he call him His father, unless it be that we 
are to understand him to have been truly the husband of Mary, without the intercourse of 
the flesh indeed, but in virtue of the real union of marriage; and thus also to have been in a 
much closer relation the father of Christ, in so far as He was born of his wife, than would 
have been the case had He been only adopted from some other party? And this makes it 
clear that the clause, “as was supposed,” is inserted with a view to those who are of opinion 

that He was begotten by Joseph in the same way as other men are begotten. 


664 Luke ii. 40, 41. 

665 Et erat pater ejus, etc., instead of Joseph , etc. [The correct text in Luke ii. 33 is undoubtedly that given by 
Augustin. Compare critical editions of the Greek text. So Revised Version, “And His father and His mother,” 
etc. — R.] 

666 Luke ii. 33. 

667 [Compare Revised Version, where the parenthesis is correctly given. — R.] 


227 


An Explanation of the Sense in Which Christ is the Son of David, Although... 


Chapter II. — An Explanation of the Sense in Which Christ is the Son of David, Al- 
though He Was Not Begotten in the Way of Ordinary Generation by Joseph the 
Son of David. 

4. Thus, too, even if one were able to demonstrate that no descent, according to the laws 
of blood, could be claimed from David for Mary, we should have warrant enough to hold 
Christ to be the son of David, on the ground of that same mode of reckoning by which also 
Joseph is called His father. But seeing that the Apostle Paul unmistakably tells us that “Christ 

/'/TO 

was of the seed of David according to the flesh,” how much more ought we to accept 
without any hesitation the position that Mary herself also was descended in some way, ac- 
cording to the laws of blood, from the lineage of David? Moreover, since this woman’s 
connection with the priestly family also is a matter not left in absolute obscurity, inasmuch 
as Luke inserts the statement that Elisabeth, whom he records to be of the daughters of 
Aaron, 669 was her cousin, 670 we ought most firmly to hold by the fact that the flesh of Christ 
sprang from both lines; to wit, from the line of the kings, and from that of the priests, in the 
case of which persons there was also instituted a certain mystical unction which was sym- 
bolically expressive among this people of the Hebrews. In other words, there was a chrism; 
which term makes the import of the name of Christ patent, and presents it as something 
indicated so long time ago by an intimation so very intelligible. 


668 Rom. i. 3. 

669 Luke i. 5. 

670 Luke i. 36. 


228 


A Statement of the Reason Why Matthew Enumerates One Succession of Ancestors... 


Chapter III. — A Statement of the Reason Why Matthew Enumerates One Succession 

of Ancestors for Christ, and Luke Another. 

5. Furthermore, as to those critics who find a difficulty in the circumstance that Matthew 
enumerates one series of ancestors, beginning with David and travelling downwards to 

srn l 

loseph, while Luke specifies a different succession, tracing it from Joseph upwards as far 
as to David, they might easily perceive that Joseph may have had two fathers, — namely, 

one by whom he was begotten, and a second by whom he may have been adopted. ' For 
it was an ancient custom also among that people to adopt children with the view of making 
sons for themselves of those whom they had not begotten. For, leaving out of sight the fact 
that Pharaoh’s daughter 674 adopted Moses (as she was a foreigner), Jacob himself adopted 
his own grandsons, the sons of Joseph, in these very intelligible terms: “Now, therefore, thy 
two sons which were born unto thee before I came unto thee, are mine: Ephraim and 
Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon: and thy issue which thou begettest after 
them shall be thine.” Whence also it came to pass that there were twelve tribes of Israel, 
although the tribe of Levi was omitted, which did service in the temple; for along with that 
one the whole number was thirteen, the sons of Jacob themselves being twelve. Thus, too, 
we can understand how Luke, in the genealogy contained in his Gospel, has named a father 
for Joseph, not in the person of the father by whom he was begotten, but in that of the 
father by whom he was adopted, tracing the list of the progenitors upwards until David is 
reached. For, seeing that there is a necessity, as both evangelists give a true narrative, — to 
wit, both Matthew and Luke, — that one of them should hold by the line of the father who 
begat Joseph, and the other by the line of the father who adopted him, whom should we 
suppose more likely to have preserved the lineage of the adopting father, than that evangelist 


671 Matt. i. 1-16. 

672 Luke iii. 23-38. 

673 In the Retractations (ii. 16), Augustin alludes to this passage with the view of correcting his statement 
regarding the adoption. He tells us that, in speaking of the two several fathers whom Joseph may have had, he 
should not have said that there “was one by whom Joseph was begotten, and another by whom he may have 
been adopted,” but should rather have put it thus: “one by whom he was begotten, and another unto whom he 
was adopted” ( alteri instead of ab altero adoptatus). And the reason indicated for the correction is the probability 
that the father who begat Joseph was the mother’s second husband, who, according to the Levirate law, had 
married her on the death of his brother without issue. [That Luke gives the lineage of Mary, who was the 
daughter of Heli, has been held by many scholars. Weiss, in his edition of Meyer’s Commentary, claims that 
this is the only grammatical view: see Robinson’s Greek Harmony, rev. ed. pp. 207, 208. Augustin passes over 
this solution apparently because he was more concerned to press the priestly lineage of Mary. — R.] 

674 Ex. ii. 10. 

675 Gen. xlviii. 5, 6. 


229 


A Statement of the Reason Why Matthew Enumerates One Succession of Ancestors... 


who has declined to speak of Joseph as begotten by the person whose son he has nevertheless 
reported him to be? For it is more appropriate that one should have been called the son of 
the man by whom he was adopted, than that he should be said to have been begotten by the 
man of whose flesh he was not descended. Now when Matthew, accordingly, used the 
phrases, “Abraham begat Isaac,” “Isaac begat Jacob,” and so on, keeping steadily by the term 
“begat,” until he said at the close, “and Jacob begat Joseph,” he gave us to know with sufficient 

frjf. 

clearness, that he had traced out the order of ancestors on to that father by whom Joseph 

was not adopted, but begotten. 

6. But even although Luke had said that Joseph was begotten by Heli, that expression 
ought not to disturb us to such an extent as to lead us to believe anything else than that by 
the one evangelist the father begetting was mentioned, and by the other the father adopting. 
For there is nothing absurd in saying that a person has begotten, not after the flesh, it may 
be, but in love, one whom he has adopted as a son. Those of us, to wit, to whom God has 
given power to become His sons, He did not beget of His own nature and substance, as was 
the case with His only Son; but He did indeed adopt us in His love. And this phrase the 
apostle is seen repeatedly to employ just in order to distinguish from us the only-begotten 
Son who is before every creature, by whom all things were made, who alone is begotten of 
the substance of the Father; who, in accordance with the equality of divinity, is absolutely 
what the Father is, and who is declared to have been sent with the view of assuming to 
Himself the flesh proper to that race to which we too belong according to our nature, in 
order that by His participation in our mortality, through His love for us, He might make us 
partakers of His own divinity in the way of adoption. For the apostle speaks thus: “But when 
the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the 
law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of 

/r ■70 

sons.” And yet we are also said to be born of God, — that is to say, in so far as we, who 

already were men, have received power to be made the sons of God, — to be made such, 
moreover, by grace, and not by nature. For if we were sons by nature, we never could have 
been aught else. But when John said, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, 
even to them that believe on His name,” he proceeded at once to add these words, “which 

fflQk 

were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” 
Thus, of the same persons he said, first, that having received power they became the sons 
of God, which is what is meant by that adoption which Paul mentions; and secondly, that 
they were born of God. And in order the more plainly to show by what grace this is effected, 


676 Reading ordinem-, others have originem, descent. 

677 Reciperemus. Most of the older mss. give recipiamus, may receive. 

678 Gal. iv. 4, 5. 

John i. 12, 13. 


679 


230 


A Statement of the Reason Why Matthew Enumerates One Succession of Ancestors... 


/TOA 

he continued thus: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” — as if he meant 

to say, What wonder is it that those should have been made sons of God, although they were 
flesh, on whose behalf the only Son was made flesh, although He was the Word? Howbeit 
there is this vast difference between the two cases, that when we are made the sons of God 
we are changed for the better; but when the Son of God was made the son of man, He was 
not indeed changed into the worse, but He did certainly assume to Himself what was below 
Him. James also speaks to this effect: “Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, 
that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” And to preclude our supposing, 

as it might appear from the use of this term “begat,” that we are made what He is Himself, 
he here points out very plainly, that what is conceded to us in virtue of this adoption, is a 

zr qo 

kind of headship among the creatures. 

7. It would be no departure from the truth, therefore, even had Luke said that Joseph 
was begotten by the person by whom he was really adopted. Even in that way he did in fact 
beget him, not indeed to be a man, but certainly to be a son; just as God has begotten us to 
be His sons, whom He had previously made to the effect of being men. But He begat only 
one to be not simply the Son, which the Father is not, but also God, which the Father in like 
manner is. At the same time, it is evident that if Luke had employed that phraseology, it 
would be altogether a matter of dubiety as to which of the two writers mentioned the father 
adopting, and which the father begetting of his own flesh; just as, on the other hand, although 
neither of them had used the word “begat,” and although the former evangelist had called 
him the son of the one person, and the latter the son of the other, it would nevertheless be 
doubtful which of them named the father by whom he was begotten, and which the father 
by whom he was adopted. As the case stands now, however, — the one evangelist saying that 
“Jacob begat Joseph,” and the other speaking of “Joseph who was the son of Heli,” — by the 
very distinction which they have made between the expressions, they have elegantly indicated 
the different objects which they have taken in hand. But surely it might easily suggest itself, 
as I have said, to a man of piety decided enough to make him consider it right to seek some 
worthier explanation than that of simply crediting the evangelist with stating what is false; 
it might, I repeat, readily suggest itself to such a person to examine what reasons there might 
be for one man being (supposed) capable of having two fathers. This, indeed, might have 
suggested itself even to those detractors, were it not that they preferred contention to con- 
sideration. 


680 John i. 14. 

681 Initium, beginning. 

682 Jas. i. 18. 
Principatum. 


683 


231 


Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found... 


Chapter IV. — Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) 
are Found in Matthew, Although He Divides Them into Three Successions of 
Fourteen Each. 

8. The matter next to be introduced, moreover, is one requiring, in order to its right 
apprehension and contemplation, a reader of the greatest attention and carefulness. For it 
has been acutely observed that Matthew, who had proposed to himself the task of commend- 
ing the kingly character in Christ, named, exclusive of Christ Himself, forty men in the series 
of generations. Now this number denotes the period in which, in this age and on this earth, 
it behoves us to be ruled by Christ in accordance with that painful discipline whereby “God 
scourgeth,” as it is written, “every son that He receiveth;” and of which also an apostle 

cor 

says that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” This dis- 
cipline is also signified by that rod of iron, concerning which we read this statement in a 

coc 

Psalm: “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron;” which words occur after the saying, 
“Yet I am set king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion!” For the good, too, are ruled with 

a rod of iron, as it is said of them: “The time is come that judgment should begin at the 
house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be to them that obey not the 
gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner 

/TOO 

appear?” To the same persons the sentence that follows also applies: “Thou shall dash 
them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” For the good, indeed, are ruled by this discipline, while 
the wicked are crushed by it. And these two different classes of persons are mentioned here 
as if they were the same, on account of the identity of the signs 689 employed in reference to 
the wicked in common with the good. 

9. That this number, then, is a sign of that laborious period in which, under the discipline 
of Christ the King, we have to fight against the devil, is also indicated by the fact that both 
the law and the prophets solemnized a fast of forty days, — that is to say, a humbling of the 
soul, — in the person of Moses and Elias, who fasted each for a space of forty days. 690 And 
what else does the Gospel narrative shadow forth under the fast of the Lord Himself, during 
which forty days He was also tempted of the devil, 691 than that condition of temptation 


684 

Heb. xii. 6. 

685 

Acts xiv. 22. 

686 

Ps. ii. 9. 

687 

Ps. ii. 6. 

688 

1 Pet. iv. 17, 18. 

689 

Sacramenta. 

690 

Exod. xxxiv. 28; 1 Kings xix. 8. 

691 

Matt. iv. 1, 2. 


232 


Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found... 


which appertains to us through all the space of this age, and which He bore in the flesh 
which He condescended to take to Himself from our mortality? After the resurrection also, 
it was His will to remain with His disciples on the earth not longer than forty days, con- 
tinuing to mingle for that space of time with this life of theirs in the way of human inter- 
course, and partaking along with them of the food needful for mortal men, although He 
Himself was to die no more; and all this was done with the view of signifying to them through 
these forty days, that although His presence should be hidden from their eyes, He would 
yet fulfil what He promised when He said, “Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the world.” 

f.Q'X 

And in explanation of the circumstance that this particular number should denote this 
temporal and earthly life, what suggests itself most immediately in the meantime, although 
there may be another and subtler method of accounting for it, is the consideration that the 
seasons of the years also revolve in four successive alternations, and that the world itself has 
its bounds determined by four divisions, which Scripture sometimes designates by the names 
of the winds, — East and West, Aquilo [or North] and Meridian [or South]. 694 But the 
number forty is equivalent to four times ten. Furthermore, the number ten itself is made 
up by adding the several numbers in succession from one up to four together. 

10. In this way, then, as Matthew undertook the task of presenting the record of Christ 
as the King who came into this world, and into this earthly and mortal life of men, for the 
purpose of exercising rule over us who have to struggle with temptation, he began with 
Abraham, and enumerated forty men. For Christ came in the flesh from that very nation 
of the Hebrews with a view to the keeping of which as a people distinct from the other nations, 
God separated Abraham from his own country and his own kindred. 695 And the circumstance 
that the promise contained an intimation of the race from which He was destined to come, 
served very specially to make the prediction and announcement concerning Him something 
all the clearer. Thus the evangelist did indeed mark out fourteen generations in each of three 
several members, stating that from Abraham until David there were fourteen generations, 
and from David until the carrying away into Babylon other fourteen generations, and another 
fourteen from that period on to the nativity of Christ 696 But he did not then reckon them 
all up in one sum, counting them one by one, and saying that thus they make up forty- two 
in all. For among these progenitors there is one who is enumerated twice, namely Jechonias, 
with whom a kind of deflection was made in the direction of extraneous nations at the time 



692 Acts i. 3. 

693 Matt, xxviii. 20. 

694 Zech. xiv. 4. 

695 Gen. xii. 1,2. 
Matt. i. 17. 


696 


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Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found... 


fxyi 

when the transmigration into Babylon took place. When the enumeration, moreover, is 
thus bent from the direct order of progression, and is made to form, if we may so say, a kind 
of corner for the purpose of taking a different course, what meets us at that corner is men- 
tioned twice over, — namely, at the close of the preceding series, and at the head of the de- 
flection specified. And this, too, was a figure of Christ as the one who was, in a certain sense, 
to pass from the circumcision to the uncircumcision, or, so to speak, from Jerusalem to 
Babylon, and to be, as it were, the corner-stone to all who believe on Him, whether on the 
one side or on the other. Thus was God making preparations then in a figurative manner 
for things which were to come in truth. For Jechonias himself, with whose name the kind 
of corner which I have in view was prefigured, is by interpretation the “preparation of 
God.” In this way, therefore, there are really not forty-two distinct generations named 
here, which would be the proper sum of three times fourteen; but, as there is a double enu- 
meration of one of the names, we have here forty generations in all, taking into account the 
fact that Christ Himself is reckoned in the number, who, like the kingly president over this 
[significant] number forty, superintends the administration of this temporal and earthly 
life of ours. 

1 1 . And inasmuch as it was Matthew’s intention to set forth Christ as descending with 
the object of sharing this mortal state with us, he has mentioned those same generations 
from Abraham on to Joseph, and on to the birth of Christ Himself, in the form of a descend- 
ing scale, and at the very beginning of his Gospel. Luke, on the other hand, details those 
generations not at the commencement of his Gospel, but at the point of Christ’s baptism, 
and gives them not in the descending, but in the ascending order, ascribing to Him prefer- 
entially the character of a priest in the expiation of sins, as where the voice from heaven 
declared Him, and where John himself delivered his testimony in these terms: “Behold the 
Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” 699 Besides, in the process by which he 
traces the genealogy upwards, he passes Abraham and carries us back to God, to whom, 
purified and atoned for, we are reconciled. Of merit, too, He has sustained in Himself the 
origination of our adoption; for we are made the sons of God through adoption, by believing 
on the Son of God. Moreover, on our account the Son of God was pleased to be made the 
son of man by the generation which is proper to the flesh. And the evangelist has shown 
clearly enough that he did not name Joseph the son of Heli on the ground that he was begot - 


697 [It is more probable that David should be reckoned twice, in making out the series. Augustin passes over 
the more serious difficulty arising from the omissions in the genealogy given by Matthew. These omissions, 
however, show that the evangelist had some purpose in his use of the number “fourteen.” Of any design to em- 
phasize the number “forty” there is no evidence. — R.] 

698 Prceparatio Dei. 

699 John i. 29. 


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Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found... 


ten of him, but only on the ground that he was adopted by him. For he has spoken of Adam 
also as the son of God, who, strictly speaking, was made by God, but was also, as it may be 
said, constituted a son in paradise by the grace which afterwards he lost through his trans- 
gression. 

12. In this way, it is the taking of our sins upon Himself by the Lord Christ that is signi- 
fied in the genealogy of Matthew, while in the genealogy of Luke it is the abolition of our 
sins by the Lord Christ that is expressed. In accordance with these ideas, the one details the 
names in the descending scale, and the other in the ascending. For when the apostle says, 
“God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin,” 700 he refers to the taking of our sins 
upon Himself by Christ. But when he adds, “for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh,” he ex- 
presses the expiation of sins. Consequently Matthew traces the succession downwards from 
David through Solomon, in connection with whose mother it was that he sinned; while Luke 
carries the genealogy upwards to the same David through Nathan, by which prophet 
God took away 703 his sin. 704 The number, also, which Luke follows does most certainly best 
indicate the taking away of sins. For inasmuch as in Christ, who Himself had no sin, there 
is assuredly no iniquity allied to the iniquities of men which He bore in His flesh, the number 
adopted by Matthew makes forty when Christ is excepted. On the contrary, inasmuch as, 
by clearing us of all sin and purging us, He places us in a right relation to His own and His 
Father’s righteousness (so that the apostle’s word is made good: “But he that is joined to the 
Lord is one spirit” ), in the number used by Luke we find included both Christ Himself, 
with whom the enumeration begins, and God, with whom it closes; and the sum becomes 
thus seventy-seven, which denotes the thorough remission and abolition of all sins. This 
perfect removal of sins the Lord Himself also clearly represented under the mystery of this 
number, when He said that the person sinning ought to be forgiven not only seven times, 

70/r 

but even unto seventy times seven. 


700 Rom. viii. 3. [Comp. Revised Version margin. — R.] 

701 Ut depeccato damnaret peccatum in came. [Revised Version, “And as an ojferingior sin,” etc. — R.] 

702 2 Sam. xii. 1-14. 

703 Expiavit. 

704 In his Retractations (ii. 16) Augustin refers to this sentence in order to chronicle a correction. He tells 
us that, instead of saying that “Luke carries the genealogy upwards to the same David through Nathan, by which 
prophet God took away his sin,” he should have said “by a prophet of which name,” etc., because although the 
name was the same, the progenitor was a different person from the prophet Nathan. 

705 1 Cor. vi. 17. 

706 Matt, xviii. 22. [Augustin apparently follows the rendering: “seventy times and seven” (see Revised Version 
margin), accepted by Meyer and many others. His whole argument turns upon the presence of the number “el- 
even” as a factor. — R.] 


235 


Of the Reason Why Forty Generations (Not Including Christ Himself) are Found... 


13. A careful inquiry will make it plain that it is not without some reason that this latter 
number is made to refer to the purging of all sins. For the number ten is shown to be, as 
one may say, the number of justice [righteousness] in the instance of the ten precepts of the 
law. Moreover, sin is the transgression of the law. And the transgression of the number 

ten is expressed suitably in the eleven; whence also we find instructions to have been given 

70S 

to the effect that there should be eleven curtains of haircloth constructed in the tabernacle; 
for who can doubt that the haircloth has a bearing upon the expression of sin? Thus, too, 
inasmuch as all time in its revolution runs in spaces of days designated by the number seven, 
we find that when the number eleven is multiplied by the number seven, we are brought 
with all due propriety to the number seventy-seven as the sign of sin in its totality. In this 
enumeration, therefore, we come upon the symbol for the full remission of sins, as expiation 
is made for us by the flesh of our Priest, with whose name the calculation of this number 
starts here; and as reconciliation is also effected for us with God, with whose name the 
reckoning of this number is here brought to its conclusion by the Holy Spirit, who appeared 
in the form of a dove on the occasion of that baptism in connection with which the number 
in question is mentioned. 709 


707 Transgressio , overstepping. 

708 Exod. xxvi. 7. 

709 Luke iii. 22. 


236 


A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


Chapter V. — A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to 
Be in Harmony with Matthew’s in Those Matters Concerning the Conception 
and the Infancy or Boyhood of Christ, Which are Omitted by the One and Re- 
corded by the Other. 

14. After the enumeration of the generations, Matthew proceeds thus: Now the birth of 
vi n 

Christ was on this wise. Whereas His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they 
came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. What Matthew has omitted 

to state here regarding the way in which that came to pass, has been set forth by Luke after 
his account of the conception of John. His narrative is to the following effect: And in the 
sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to 
a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s 

VI 9 

name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art full of grace, 
the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw these things, 
she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should 
be. And the angel said unto her: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, 
thou shaft conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shaft call His name Jesus. He 
shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto 
Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and 
of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, 
seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall 
come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that 
holy thing which shall be born 714 shall be called the Son of God; 715 and then follow matters 
not belonging to the question at present in hand. Now all this Matthew has recorded 
[summarily], when he tells us of Mary that “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” 


710 [The omission of “Jesus” is an early variation of the Latin text of the Gospel. — R.] 

711 Matt. i. 18. 

712 Gratia plena. [Comp. Revised Version margin. — R.] 

713 Quce cum vidisset. Others read audisset, heard. [The better Greek mss. omit the clause. The variation 
in the Latin text here was probably due to the later gloss of the scribes. — R.] 

714 Various editions insert ex te, of thee; but the words are omitted in three Vatican mss., and most of the 
Gallican. See Migne’s note. [Omitted in the Greek text, according to the best authorities. — R.] 

715 Luke i. 26-34. [Ver. 34 is differently rendered in the text of the Revised Version. The Latin of Augustin 
would perhaps admit of the same sense, but is more naturally explained as above. — R.] 


237 


A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


Neither is there any contradiction between the two evangelists, in so far as Luke has set forth 
in detail what Matthew has omitted to notice; for both bear witness that Mary conceived by 
the Holy Ghost. And in the same way there is no want of concord between them, when 
Matthew, in his turn, connects with the narrative something which Luke leaves out. For 
Matthew proceeds to give us the following statement: Then Joseph, her husband, being a 
just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in 
a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for 
that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and 
thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was 
done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, 

71 s : 

a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son; and His name shall be called 
Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, 
did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not 
till she had brought forth her first-born son; and he called His name Jesus. Now when 

71 Q 

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, in the days of Herod the king, and so forth. 

15. With respect to the city of Bethlehem, Matthew and Luke are at one. But Luke ex- 
plains in what way and for what reason Joseph and Mary came to it; whereas Matthew gives 
no such explanation. On the other hand, while Luke is silent on the subject of the journey 
of the magi from the east, Matthew furnishes an account of it. That narrative he constructs 
as follows, in immediate connection with what he has already offered: Behold, there came 
wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for 
we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. Now, when Herod the king 
had heard these things, he was troubled. And in this manner the account goes on, down 

to the passage where of these magi it is written that, “being warned of God in a dream that 

720 

they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 
This entire section is omitted by Luke, just as Matthew fails to mention some other circum- 
stances which are mentioned by Luke: as, for example, that the Lord was laid in a manger; 
and that an angel announced His birth to the shepherds; and that there was with the angel 
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God; and that the shepherds came and saw that 


716 Vocabitur. The mss. give vocabunt, they shall call; one ms. gives vocabis, thou shalt call. [The proper 
reading is probably vocabunt ; at all events, this accords with the Greek text. The variations can be accounted 
for by the presence of vocabitur and vocabis in previous part of the paragraph. — R.] 

717 [The best Greek mss. read “a son” in Matt. i. 23. In Luke ii. 7 “first-born” occurs. — R.] 

718 Matt. i. 19-21. 

719 Matt. ii. 1-3. 


720 


Matt. ii. 12. 


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A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


that was true which the angel had announced to them; and that on the day of His circumcision 
He received His name; as also the incidents reported by the same Luke to have occurred 
after the days of the purification of Mary were fulfilled, — namely, their taking Him to Jeru- 
salem, and the words spoken in the temple by Simeon or Anna concerning Him, when, 
filled with the Holy Ghost, they recognized Him. Of all these things Matthew says nothing. 

16. Hence, a subject which deserves inquiry is the question concerning the precise time 
when these events took place which are omitted by Matthew and given by Luke, and those, 
on the other hand, which have been omitted by Luke and given by Matthew. For after his 
account of the return of the magi who had come from the east to their own country, Matthew 
proceeds to tell us how Joseph was warned by an angel to flee into Egypt with the young 
child, to prevent His being put to death by Herod; and then how Herod failed to find Him, 
but slew the children from two years old and under; thereafter, how, when Herod was dead, 
Joseph returned from Egypt, and, on hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judaea instead of 
his father Herod, went to reside with the boy in Galilee, at the city Nazareth. All these facts, 
again, are passed over by Luke. Nothing, however, like a want of harmony can be made out 
between the two writers merely on the ground that the latter states what the former omits, 
or that the former mentions what the latter leaves unnoticed. But the real question is as to 
the exact period at which these things could have taken place which Matthew has linked on 
to his narrative; to wit, the departure of the family into Egypt, and their return from it after 
Herod’s death, and their residence at that time in the town of Nazareth, the very place to 
which Luke tells us that they went back after they had performed in the temple all things 
regarding the boy according to the law of the Lord. Here, accordingly, we have to take notice 
of a fact which will also hold good for other like cases, and which will secure our minds 
against similar agitation or disturbance in subsequent instances. I refer to the circumstance 
that each evangelist constructs his own particular narrative on a kind of plan which gives 
it the appearance of being the complete and orderly record of the events in their succession. 
For, preserving a simple silence on the subject of those incidents of which he intends to give 
no account, he then connects those which he does wish to relate with what he has been im- 
mediately recounting, in such a manner as to make the recital seem continuous. At the same 
time, when one of them mentions facts of which the other has given no notice, the order of 
narrative, if carefully considered, will be found to indicate the point at which the writer by 
whom the omissions are made has taken the leap in his account, and thus has attached the 
facts, which it was his purpose to introduce, in such a manner to the preceding context as 
to give the appearance of a connected series, in which the one incident follows immediately 
on the other, without the interposition of anything else. On this principle, therefore, we 
understand that where he tells us how the wise men were warned in a dream not to return 
to Herod, and how they went back to their own country by another way, Matthew has simply 
omitted all that Luke has related respecting all that happened to the Lord in the temple, and 


239 



A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


all that was said by Simeon and Anna; while, on the other hand, Luke has omitted in the 
same place all notice of the journey into Egypt, which is given by Matthew, and has intro- 
duced the return to the city of Nazareth as if it were immediately consecutive. 

17. If any one wishes, however, to make up one complete narrative out of all that is said 
or left unsaid by these two evangelists respectively, on the subject of Christ’s nativity and 
infancy or boyhood, he may arrange the different statements in the following order: — Now 
the birth of Christ was on this wise. There was, in the days of Herod the king of Judaea, 
a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters 
of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking 
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, 
because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were well stricken in years. And it came 
to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God, in the order of his course, ac- 
cording to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into 
the temple of the Lord: and the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the 
time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right 
side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him he was troubled, and fear fell upon 
him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife 
Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy 
and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the 
Lord: and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy 
Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to 
the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the 
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make 
ready a people perfect for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I 
know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel, answering, 
said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto 
thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able 
to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou hast not believed 
my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and 
marvelled that he tarried in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto 


721 Matt. i. 18; Luke i. 5. [In this extended citation from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Latin text 
given by Augustin is in many cases, more closely reproduced in the Revised Version than in the Authorized. 
The translator has, as usual, taken the language of the latter, except in a few places, where the difference seemed 
more important and striking. — R.] 

722 Perfectum. 

723 [Tacens; the fair equivalent of the original Greek phrase properly rendered “silent”’ in the Revised Ver- 
sion. — R.] 


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A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he beckoned unto 
them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass that, as soon as the days of his minis- 
tration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife 
Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me 
in the days wherein He looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men. And in the 
sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 
to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s 

794 

name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art full of grace, 
the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was 
troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And 
the angel said unto her, Lear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, thou 
shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall 
be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him 
the throne of His father David: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His 
kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I 
know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come 
upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy 
thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin 

Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her 
who is called barren, for with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold 
the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed 
from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a 
city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to 
pass, that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and 
Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, 
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this 
to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? for, lo, as soon as the voice of thy 
salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed art thou 
that didst believe, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told thee 
from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced 
in God my Saviour. Lor He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, 
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, for He that is mighty hath done to 
me great things, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him, from gen- 


724 Gratia plena. 

725 [Compare above on § 14. — R.] 

726 Vocatur. 

Beata quce credidisti. 


727 


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A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


7TO 

eration to generation. He hath made strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud 
in the imagination of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted 
them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent 
empty away. He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy: as He 
spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about 

yon 

three months, and returned to her own house. Then it proceeds thus: — She was found 
with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing 

to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on 
these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, 
thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in 
her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: 
for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, 
and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel; which, being interpreted, 
is, God with us. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden 

707 

him, and took unto him his wife, and knew her not. 

700 

Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth 
a son. And her neighbours and her relatives heard that the Lord magnified His mercy 
with her; and they congratulated her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came 
to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And 

his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, 
There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, 
how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His 
name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his 
tongue, and he spake and praised God. And fear came on all them that dwelt round about 
them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 


728 Fecit. 

729 Undertaken — suscepit. 

730 Luke i. 5-36. 

731 Matt.i. 18. [The discovery of Mary’s condition probably occurred, as the order of Augustin implies, after 
the return of Mary from the visit to Elizabeth. But it is altogether uncertain whether it preceded the birth of 
John the Baptist. — R.] 

732 Matt. i. 18-25. [The last clause of ver. 25 is omitted here, but given in §14. Possibly the variation was in- 
tentional. — R.] 

733 Luke i. 57. 

734 Cognati. 

735 [Vocabunt, “would have called,” answering to the Greek imperfect of arrested action. — R.] 


242 


A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What manner of child, 
thinkest thou, shall this be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father 
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God 
of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation 
for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, 
which have been since the world began; (to give) salvation from our enemies, and from the 
hand of all that hate us: to perform mercy with our fathers, and to remember His holy cov- 
enant, the oath which He sware to Abraham our father that He would give to us; in order 
that, being saved out of the hand of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear, in holiness 
and righteousness before Him, all our days. And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of 
the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give 
knowledge of salvation unto His people, for the remission of their sins, through the tender 

mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them 
that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And 
the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his showing 
unto Israel. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar 
Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. This first taxing was made when Syr- 
inus 739 was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed , 740 every one into his own city. And 
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of 
David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be 
taxed 741 with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they 
were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth 
her first-born son, and wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because 
there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds 
watching and keeping the vigils of the night over their flock. And, lo, the angel of the Lord 
stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. 
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped 
in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude 
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 


736 In remissionem. 

Til Describeretur, registered. [Revised Version, “should be enrolled.” — R.] 

738 Descriptio prima [This is now the accepted sense of the phrase in Luke ii. 2; Comp. Revised Version. — R.] 

739 Reading prceside Syrice Syrino-, in some mss. it is a prceside, etc., and sub prceside also occurs. 

740 Profiterentur , to make their declaration. 

741 Profiteretur , make his declaration. 


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A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


HA') 

peace to men of goodwill. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them 

into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and 
see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they 
came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when 

H A 

they had seen it, they understood the saying which had been told them concerning this 
child. And all they that heard it, wondered also at those things which were told them by the 
shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds 
returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it 
was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the 
child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived 
in the womb . 744 And then it proceeds thus : 745 Behold, there came wise men from the east 
to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in 
the east, and are come to worship Him. Now when Herod the king had heard these things, 
he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests 
and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And 
they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea; for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, 
Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee 
shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily 
called the wise men, inquired of them diligently the time of the star which appeared unto 
them. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young 
child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship 
him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star which they had 
seen in the east went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. 
And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were 
come into the house, they found 746 the child with Mary His mother, and fell down and 
worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts, 
gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not 

H AH 

return unto Herod, they departed into their own country another way. Then, after this 


742 Hominibus bonce voluntatis. [Comp Revised Version. — R.] 

743 Cognoverunt. 

744 Luke i. 57-ii. 21. 

745 Matt. ii. 1. [It is here assumed that the visit of the Magi preceded the presentation in the temple. But this 
order cannot be positively established. The two events must be placed near together. In chap. xi. Augustin implies 
that there was an interval of some length. The traditional date of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) is clearly too early, since 
it assumes an interval of twenty-seven days. — R.] 

746 Invenerunt. 


747 Matt. ii. 1-12. 


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A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


HAQ 

account of their return, the narrative goes on thus: When the days of her (His mother’s) 

purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought Him to Jeru- 
salem, to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that 
openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice according to that 
which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. And, be- 
hold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just 
and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was in him. 

And it had been revealed unto him 749 by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death 
before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when 
His parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took 
he Him up in his arms, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, accord- 
ing to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before 
the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And 
His father and mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him. And Simeon 

blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising 
again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against; and a sword shall pierce 
through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there 
was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great 
age, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow 
of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with 

nr I 

fastings and prayers day and night. And she, coming in that instant, gave thanks also 

nrn 

unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for the redemption of Jerusalem. 
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, behold, the 

angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child 
and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod 
will seek the young child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young child and His 
mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have 
I called my Son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceed- 


748 Luke ii. 22. 

749 Responsum acceperat. 

750 Pater ejus et mater. [“Joseph” was early substituted. Augustin follows the text now accepted on the au- 
thority of the best Greek mss. — R.] 

751 Confitebatur , made acknowledgment. 

752 Reading redemptionem Jerusalem; for which some editions gave redemptionem Israel. 

753 Luke ii. 22-39. 


754 


Matt. ii. 13. 


245 


A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony... 


ing wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the 
coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently 
inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, 
saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and great mourning, Rachel 
weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when 
Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 
Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are 
dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and His 
mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in 
Judaea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; and being warned of 
God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee; and came and dwelt in a city called 
Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a 
Nazarene. And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace 
of God was in Him. And His parents went to Jerusalem every year, at the feast of the passover. 
And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast. 
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in 

<7ro 

Jerusalem; and His parents knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the 
company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 
And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem seeking Him. And it 
came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the 
doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were aston- 
ished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed. And 
His mother said to Him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I 
sought thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not 
that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which 
He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject 
unto them; and His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in 

7f\\ 7f\l 

wisdom and age, and in favour with God and men. 


755 [The briefer reading, here accepted, is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version. — R.] 

756 Matt. ii. 13-23. 

757 Luke ii. 40. 

758 Parentes ejus. [“Joseph and His mother” is the later reading, followed in the Authorized Version. — R.] 

759 In his quce Patris mei sunt. [Comp. Revised Version. — R.] 

760 Reading, with the mss., conservabat omnia verba hcec in corde suo. Some editions insert conferens, pon- 
dering them. 

761 JEtate. [So Revised Version margin. — R.] 

762 Luke ii. 40-52. 


246 


On the Position Given to the Preaching of John the Baptist in All the Four... 


Chapter VI. — On the Position Given to the Preaching of John the Baptist in All the 

Four Evangelists. 

18. Now at this point commences the account of the preaching of John, which is 
presented by all the four. For after the words which I have placed last in the order of his 
narrative thus far, — the words with which he introduces the testimony from the prophet, 
namely, He shall be called a Nazarene, — Matthew proceeds immediately to give us this re- 
cital: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,” etc. 

And Mark, who has told us nothing of the nativity or infancy or youth of the Lord, has made 
his Gospel begin with the same event, — that is to say, with the preaching of John. For it is 
thus that he sets out: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is 
written in the prophet Isaiah, 764 Behold, I send a messenger 765 before Thy face, which shall 
prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way 
of the Lord, make His paths straight. John was in the wilderness baptizing, and preaching 
the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, etc. Luke, again, follows up the passage 

in which he says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and age, and in favour with God and 
man,” by a section in which he speaks of the preaching of John in these terms: Now in the 
fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and 
Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region 
of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high 

n zo 

priests, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness, etc. 
The Apostle John, too, the most eminent of the four evangelists, after discoursing of the 
Word of God, who is also the Son, antecedent to all the ages of creaturely existence, inasmuch 
as all things were made by Him, has introduced in the immediate context his account of the 
preaching and testimony of John, and proceeds thus: There was a man sent from God, whose 
name was John. This will be enough at once to make it plain that the narratives concerning 

John the Baptist given by the four evangelists are not at variance with one another. And 
there will be no occasion for requiring or demanding that to be done in all detail in this in- 
stance which we have already done in the case of the genealogies of the Christ who was born 
of Mary, to the effect of proving how Matthew and Luke are in harmony with each other, 
of showing how we might construct one consistent narrative out of the two, and of 


763 Matt. iii. 1. 

764 In Isaia propheta. [So the Greek text, according to the best mss. Comp. Revised Version — R.] 

765 Angelum. 

766 Marki. 1-4. 

767 Atate. 

768 Luke iii. 1,2. 

769 John i. 6. 


247 


On the Position Given to the Preaching of John the Baptist in All the Four... 


demonstrating on behoof of those of less acute perception, that although one of these 
evangelists may mention what the other omits, or omit what the other mentions, he does 
not thereby make it in any sense difficult to accept the veracity of the account given by the 
other. For when a single example [of this method of harmonizing] has been set before us, 
whether in the way in which it has been presented by me, or in some other method in which 
it may more satisfactorily be exhibited, every man can understand that, in all other similar 
passages, what he has seen done here may be done again. 

19. Accordingly, let us now study, as I have said, the harmony of the four evangelists in 
the narratives regarding John the Baptist. Matthew proceeds in these terms: In those days 
came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea. Mark has not used the 
phrase “In those days,” because he has given no recital of any series of events at the head of 
his Gospel immediately before this narrative, so that he might be understood to speak in 
reference to the dates of such events under the terms, “In those days.” Luke, on the other 
hand, with greater precision has defined those times of the preaching or baptism of John, 
by means of the notes of the temporal power. For he says: Now, in the fifteenth year of the 
reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch 
of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and 
Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of 
God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. We ought not, however, 
to understand that what was actually meant by Matthew when He said, “In those days,” was 
simply the space of days literally limited to the specified period of these powers. On the 
contrary, it is apparent that he intended the note of time which was conveyed in the phrase 
“In those days,” to be taken to refer to a much longer period. For he first gives us the account 
of the return of Christ from Egypt after the death of Herod, — an incident, indeed, which 
took place at the time of His infancy or childhood, and with which, consequently, Luke’s 
statement of what befell Him in the temple when He was twelve years of age is quite consist- 
ent. Then, immediately after this narrative of the recall of the infant or boy out of Egypt, 
Matthew continues thus in due order: “Now, in those days came John the Baptist.” And 
thus under that phrase he certainly covers not merely the days of His childhood, but all the 
days intervening between His nativity and this period at which John began to preach and 
to baptize. At this period, moreover, Christ is found already to have attained to man’s estate; 


770 Matt. iii. 1. 

771 Mark i. 4. 

772 Luke iii. 1-3. 
Luke ii. 42-50. 


773 


248 


On the Position Given to the Preaching of John the Baptist in All the Four... 


774 77c 11 

for John and he were of the same age; and it is stated that He was about thirty years 

of age when He was baptized by the former. 


774 Juvenilis cetas. For juvenilis cetas, the mss. give regularly Juvenalis cetas. 

775 Cocevi. 


776 


Ferine. 


249 



Of the Two Herods. 


Chapter VII. — Of the Two Herods. 

20. But with respect to the mention of Herod, it is well understood that some are apt to 
be influenced by the circumstance that Luke has told us how, in the days of John’s baptizing, 
and at the time when the Lord, being then a grown man, was also baptized, Herod was 
tetrarch of Galilee; whereas Matthew tells us that the boy Jesus returned from Egypt 
after the death of Herod. Now these two accounts cannot both be true, unless we may also 
suppose that there were two different Herods. But as no one can fail to be aware that this is 
a perfectly possible case, what must be the blindness in which those persons pursue their 
mad follies, who are so quick to launch false charges against the truth of the Gospels; and 
how miserably inconsiderate must they be, not to reflect that two men may have been called 
by the same name? Yet this is a thing of which examples abound on all sides. For this latter 
Herod is understood to have been the son of the former Herod: just as Archelaus also was, 
whom Matthew states to have succeeded to the throne of Judaea on the death of his father; 
and as Philip was, who is introduced by Luke as the brother of Herod the tetrarch, and as 
himself tetrarch of Ituraea. For the Herod who sought the life of the child Christ was king; 
whereas this other Herod, his son, was not called king, but tetrarch, which is a Greek word, 
signifying etymologically one set over the fourth part of a kingdom. 


777 Luke iii. 1-21. 


778 Puerum. 


250 


An Explanation of the Statemen t Made by Matthew, to the Effect that Joseph . . . 


Chapter VIII. — An Explanation of the Statement Made by Matthew, to the Effect 
that Joseph Was Afraid to Go with the Infant Christ into Jerusalem on Account 
of Archelaus, and Yet Was Not Afraid to Go into Galilee, Where Herod, that 
Prince’s Brother, Was Tetrarch. 

21. Here again, however, it may happen that a difficulty will be found, and that some, 
seeing that Matthew has told us how Joseph was afraid to go into Judaea with the child on 
his return, expressly for the reason that Archelaus the son reigned there in place of his 
father Herod, may be led to ask how he could have gone into Galilee, where, as Luke bears 
witness, there was another son of that Herod, namely, Herod the tetrarch. But such a difficulty 
can only be founded on the fancy that the times indicated as those in which there was such 
apprehension on the child’s account were identical with the times dealt with now by Luke: 
whereas it is conspicuously evident that there is a change in the periods, because we no 
longer find Archelaus represented as king in Judaea; but in place of him we have Pontius 
Pilate, who also was not the king of the Jews, but only their governor, in whose times the 
sons of the elder Herod, acting under Tiberius Caesar, held not the kingdom, but the tetrarchy. 
And all this certainly had not come to pass at the time when Joseph, in fear of the Archelaus 
who was then reigning in Judaea, betook himself, together with the child, into Galilee, where 
was also his city Nazareth. 


251 



An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew States that Joseph ’s Reason . . . 


Chapter IX. — An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew States that Joseph’s 
Reason for Going into Galilee with the Child Christ Was His Fear of Archelaus, 
Who Was Reigning at that Time in Jerusalem in Place of His Father, While Fuke 
Tells Us that the Reason for Going into Galilee Was the Fact that Their City 
Nazareth Was There. 

22. Or may a question perchance be raised as to how Matthew tells us that His parents 
went with the boy Jesus into Galilee, because they were unwilling to go into Judaea in con- 
sequence of their fear of Archelaus; whereas it would rather appear that the reason for their 
going into Galilee was, as Luke has not failed to indicate, the consideration that their city 
was Nazareth of Galilee? Well, but we must observe, that when the angel said to Joseph in 
his dreams in Egypt, “Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go into the land 
of Israel,” the words were understood at first by Joseph in a way that made him consider 

himself commanded to journey into Judaea. For that was the first interpretation that could 
have been put upon the phrase, “the land of Israel.” But again, after ascertaining that 
Archelaus, the son of Herod, was reigning there, he declined to expose himself to such 
danger, inasmuch as this phrase, “the land of Israel,” was capable also of being so understood 
as to cover Galilee too, because the people of Israel were occupants of that territory as well 
as the other. At the same time, this question also admits of being solved in another manner. 
For it might have appeared to the parents of Christ that they were called to take up their 
residence along with the boy, concerning whom such information had been conveyed to 
them through the responses of angels, just in Jerusalem itself, where was the temple of the 
Lord: and it may thus be, that when they came back out of Egypt, they would have gone 
directly thither in that belief, and have taken up their abode there, had it not been that they 
were terrified at the presence of Archelaus. And certainly they did not receive any such in- 
structions from heaven to take up their residence there as would have made it their imper- 
ative duty to set at nought the fears they entertained of Archelaus. 


779 Matt. ii. 19, 20. 


252 


A Statement of the Reason Why Luke Tells Us that ‘His Parents Went to Jerusalem... 


Chapter X. — A Statement of the Reason Why Luke Tells Us that “His Parents Went 
to Jerusalem Every Year at the Feast of the Passover” Along with the Boy; While 
Matthew Intimates that Their Dread of Archelaus Made Them Afraid to Go 
There on Their Return from Egypt. 

23. Or does any one put to us this question, How was it, then, that His parents went up 
to Jerusalem every year during the boyhood of Christ, as Luke’s narrative bears, if they were 
prevented from going there by the fear of Archelaus? Well, I should not deem it any very 
difficult task to solve this question, even although none of the evangelists has given us to 
understand how long Archelaus reigned there. For it might have been the case that, simply 
for that one day, and with the intention of returning forthwith, they went up on the day of 
the feast, without attracting any notice among the vast multitudes then assembled, to the 
city where, nevertheless, they were afraid to make their residence on other days. And thus 
they might at once have saved themselves from the appearance of being so irreligious as to 
neglect the observance of the feast, and have avoided drawing attention upon themselves 
by a continued sojourn. But further, although all the evangelists have omitted to tell us what 
was the length of the reign of Archelaus, we have still open to us this obvious method of 
explaining the matter, namely, to understand the custom to which Luke refers, when he 
says that they were in the habit of going to Jerusalem every year, as one prosecuted at a 
time when Archelaus was no more an object of fear. But if the reign of Archelaus should be 
made out to have lasted for a somewhat longer period on the authority of any extra -evangel- 
ical history which appears to deserve credit, the consideration which I have indicated above 
should still prove quite sufficient, — namely, the supposition that the fear which the parents 
of the child entertained of a residence in Jerusalem was, nevertheless, not of such a nature 
as to lead them to neglect the observance of the sacred festival to which they were under 
obligation in the fear of God, and which they might very easily go about in a manner that 
would not attract public attention to them. For surely it is nothing incredible that, by taking 
advantage of favourable opportunities, whether by day or by hour, men may (safely venture 
to) approach places in which they nevertheless are afraid to be found tarrying. 


780 Luke ii. 4. 


253 


An Examination of the Question as to How It Was Possible for Them to Go... 


Chapter XI. — An Examination of the Question as to How It Was Possible for Them 
to Go Up, According to Luke’s Statement, with Him to Jerusalem to the Temple, 
When the Days of the Purification of the Mother of Christ Were Accomplished, 
in Order to Perform the Usual Rites, If It is Correctly Recorded by Matthew, 
that Herod Had Already Learned from the Wise Men that the Child Was Born 
in Whose Stead, When He Sought for Him, He Slew So Many Children. 

24. Hereby also we see how another question is solved, if any one indeed finds a difficulty 
in it. I allude to the question as to how it was possible, on the supposition that the elder 
Herod was already anxious (to obtain information regarding Him), and agitated by the in- 
telligence received from the wise men concerning the birth of the King of the Jews, for them, 
when the days of the purification of His mother were accomplished, to go up in any safety 
with Him to the temple, in order to see to the performance of those things which were ac- 

70 1 

cording to the law of the Lord, and which are specified by Luke. For who can fail to per- 

ceive that this solitary day might very easily have escaped the notice of a king, whose attention 
was engaged with a multitude of affairs? Or if it does not appear probable that Herod, who 
was waiting in the extremest anxiety to see what report the wise men would bring back to 
him concerning the child, should have been so long in finding out how he had been mocked, 
that, only after the mother’s purification was already past, and the solemnities proper to the 
first-born were performed with respect to the child in the temple, nay more, only after their 
departure into Egypt, did it come into his mind to seek the life of the child, and to slay so 
many little ones; — if, I say, any one finds a difficulty in this, I shall not pause to state the 
numerous and important occupations by which the king’s attention may have been engaged, 
and for the space of many days either wholly diverted from such thoughts, or prevented 
from following them out. For it is not possible to enumerate all the cases which might have 
made that perfectly possible. No one, however, is so ignorant of human affairs as either to 
deny or to question that there may very easily have been many such matters of importance 
(to preoccupy the king). For to whom will not the thought occur, that reports, whether true 
or false, of many other more terrible things may possibly have been brought to the king, so 
that the person who had been apprehensive of a certain royal child, who after a number of 
years might prove an adversary to himself or to his sons, might be so agitated with the terrors 
of certain more immediate dangers, as to have his attention forcibly removed from that 


781 [Compare note on the relative position of the visit of the Magi and the presentation in the temple, § 
17.— R.] 


254 



An Examination of the Question as to How It Was Possible for Them to Go... 


earlier anxiety, and engaged rather with the devising of measures to ward off other more 
instantly threatening perils? Wherefore, leaving all such considerations unspecified, I simply 
venture on the assertion that, when the wise men failed to bring back any report to him, 
Herod may have believed that they had been misled by a deceptive vision of a star, and that, 
after their want of success in discovering Him whom they had supposed to have been born, 
they had been ashamed to return to him; and that in this way the king, having his fears al- 
layed, had given up the idea of asking after and persecuting the child. Consequently, when 
they had gone with Him to Jerusalem after the purification of His mother, and when those 

' 70 ') 

things had been performed in the temple which are recounted by Luke, inasmuch as the 

words which were spoken by Simeon and Anna in their prophesyings regarding Him, when 
publicity began to be given to them by the persons who had heard them, were like to call 
back the king’s mind then to its original design, Joseph obeyed the warning conveyed to 
him in the dream, and fled with the child and His mother into Egypt. Afterwards, when the 
things which had been done and said in the temple were made quite public, Herod perceived 
that he had been mocked; and then, in his desire to get at the death of Christ, he slew the 

>700 

multitude of children, as Matthew records. 


782 Luke ii. 22-39. 


783 Matt. ii. 3-16. 


255 


Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


Chapter XII. — Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists 
Respectively. 

25. Moreover, Matthew makes up his account of John in the following manner: — Now 
in those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent 
ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is He that is spoken of by the prophet 
Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make His paths straight. Mark also and Luke agree in presenting this testimony of Isaiah 

'70C 

as one referring to John. Luke, indeed, has likewise recorded some other words from the 

same prophet, which follow those already cited, when he gives his narrative of John the 
Baptist. The evangelist John, again, mentions that John the Baptist did also personally advance 

'70/' 

this same testimony of Isaiah regarding himself. And, to a similar effect, Matthew here 
has given us certain words of John which are unrecorded by the other evangelists. For he 
speaks of him as “preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye, for the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand;” which words of John have been omitted by the others. In 
what follows, however, in immediate connection with that passage in Matthew’s Gos- 
pel, — namely, the sentence, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way 
of the Lord, make His paths straight,” — the position is ambiguous; and it does not clearly 
appear whether this is something recited by Matthew in his own person, or rather a continu- 
ance of the words spoken by John himself, so as to lead us to understand the whole passage 
to be the reproduction of John’s own utterance, in this way: “Repent ye, for the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand; for this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,” and so on. For 
it ought to create no difficulty against this latter view, that he does not say, “For I am He 
that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,” but employs the phraseology, “For this is He that 

non 

was spoken of.” For that, indeed, is a mode of speech which the evangelists Matthew and 
John are in the habit of using in reference to themselves. Thus Matthew has adopted the 
phrase, “He found a man sitting at the receipt of custom,” instead of “He found me.” 
John, too, says, “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, 
and we know that his testimony is true,” 790 instead of “I am,” etc., or, “My testimony is 


784 Matt. iii. 1-3. 

785 Mark i. 3; Luke iii. 4. 

786 John i. 23. 

787 Reading solet quippe esse talis locutio, etc. Some codices give solet quippe esse quasi de aliis locutio = a 
mode of speech as if other persons were meant. 

788 Invenit. 

789 Matt. ix. 9. 

John xxi. 24. 


790 


256 


Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


7Q 1 

true.” Yea, our Lord Himself very frequently uses the words, “The Son of man,” or, “The 

Son of God,” instead of saying, “I.” So, again, He tells us that “it behoved Christ to suffer, 

and to rise from the dead the third day,” instead of saying, “It behoved me to suffer.” 
Consequently it is perfectly possible that the clause, “For this is He that was spoken of by 
the prophet Isaiah,” which immediately follows the saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand,” may be but a continuation of what John the Baptist said of himself; so 
that only after these words cited from the speaker himself will Matthew’s own narrative 
proceed, being thus resumed: “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair,” and so 
forth. But if this is the case, then it need not seem wonderful that, when asked what he had 
to say regarding himself, he should reply, according to the narrative of the evangelist John, 
“I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” 794 as he had already spoken in the same 
terms when enjoining on them the duty of repentance. Accordingly, Matthew goes on to 
tell us about his attire and his mode of living, and continues his account thus: And the same 
John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins, and his meat was 
locusts and wild honey. Mark also gives us this same statement almost in so many words. 
But the other two evangelists omit it. 

26. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative, and says: Then went out to him Jerusalem 
and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized by him in Jordan, 
confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his 
baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the 
wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within 
yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these 
stones to raise up children unto Abraham. For now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: 
therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewn down and cast into 
the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that is to come after me 
is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you in the Holy 
Spirit and fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather 
His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. This 
whole passage is also given by Luke, who ascribes almost the same words to John. And where 
there is any variation in the words, there is nevertheless no real departure from the sense. 
Thus, for example, Matthew tells us that John said, “And think not to say within yourselves, 
We have Abraham to our father,” where Luke puts it thus: “And begin not to say, We have 


791 Matt. ix. 6, xvi. 27. 

792 John v. 25. 

793 Luke xxiv. 46. 

794 John i. 23. 

Matt. iii. 4-12. 


795 


257 


Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


Abraham to our father.” Again, in the former we have the words, “I indeed baptize you with 
water unto repentance;” whereas the latter brings in the questions put by the multitudes as 
to what they should do, and represents John to have replied to them with a statement of 
good works as the fruits of repentance, — all which is omitted by Matthew. So, when Luke 
tells us what reply the Baptist made to the people when they were musing in their hearts 
concerning Him, and thinking whether He were the Christ, he gives us simply the words, 
“I indeed baptize you with water,” and does not add the phrase, “unto repentance.” Further, 
in Matthew the Baptist says, “But he that is to come after me is mightier than I;” while in 
Luke he is exhibited as saying, “But one mightier than I cometh.” In like manner, according 
to Matthew, he says, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear;” but according to the other, his 
words are, “the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.” The latter sayings are 
recorded also by Mark, although he makes no mention of those other matters. For, after 
noticing his attire and his mode of living, he goes on thus: “And preached, saying, There 
cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop 
down and unloose: I have baptized you with water, but He shall baptize you in the Holy 
Spirit.” In the notice of the shoes, therefore, he differs from Luke in so far as he has added 
the words, “to stoop down;” and in the account of the baptism he differs from both these 
others in so far as he does not say, “and in fire,” but only, “in the Holy Spirit.” For as in 
Matthew, so also in Luke, the words are the same, and they are given in the same order, “He 
shall baptize you in the Spirit and in fire,” — with this single exception, that Luke has not 
added the adjective “Holy,” while Matthew has given it thus: “in the Holy Spirit and in 

707 

fire.” The statements made by these three are attested by the evangelist John, when he 
says: “John bears witness of Him, and cries, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He 
that cometh after me is preferred before me; for He was before me.” 799 For thus he indicates 
that the thing was spoken by John at the time at which those other evangelists record him 
to have uttered the words. Thus, too, he gives us to understand that John was repeating and 
calling into notice again something which he had already spoken, when he said, “This was 
He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me.” 

27. If now the question is asked, as to which of the words we are to suppose the most 
likely to have been the precise words used by John the Baptist, whether those recorded as 
spoken by him in Matthew’s Gospel, or those in Luke’s, or those which Mark has introduced, 
among the few sentences which he mentions to have been uttered by him, while he omits 


796 Greek and Latin Bibles now, however, add the word Holy in Luke. [The variation does not occur in early 
Greek mss. — R.] 

797 Matt. iii. 3-12; Mark i. 6-8; Luke iii. 7-17. 

798 Perhibet. 

799 John i. 15. 


258 


Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


notice of all the rest, it will not be deemed worth while creating any difficulty for oneself in 
a matter of that kind, by any one who wisely understands that the real requisite in order to 
get at the knowledge of the truth is just to make sure of the things really meant, whatever 
may be the precise words in which they happen to be expressed. For although one writer 
may retain a certain order in the words, and another present a different one, there is surely 
no real contradiction in that. Nor, again, need there be any antagonism between the two, 
although one may state what another omits. For it is evident that the evangelists have set 
forth these matters just in accordance with the recollection each retained of them, and just 
according as their several predilections prompted them to employ greater brevity or richer 
detail on certain points, while giving, nevertheless, the same account of the subjects them- 
selves. 

28. Thus, too, in what more pertinently concerns the matter in hand, it is sufficiently 
obvious that, since the truth of the Gospel, conveyed in that word of God which abides 
eternal and unchangeable above all that is created, but which at the same time has been 
disseminated 800 throughout the world by the instrumentality of temporal symbols, and by 
the tongues of men, has possessed itself of the most exalted height of authority, we ought 
not to suppose that any one of the writers is giving an unreliable account, if, when several 
persons are recalling some matter either heard or seen by them, they fail to follow the very 
same plan, or to use the very same words, while describing, nevertheless, the self-same fact. 
Neither should we indulge such a supposition, although the order of the words may be 
varied; or although some words may be substituted in place of others, which nevertheless 
have the same meaning; or although something may be left unsaid, either because it has not 
occurred to the mind of the recorder, or because it becomes readily intelligible from other 
statements which are given; or although, among other matters which (may not bear directly 
on his immediate purpose, but which) he decides on mentioning rather for the sake of the 
narrative, and in order to preserve the proper order of time, one of them may introduce 
something which he does not feel called upon to expound as a whole at length, but only to 
touch upon in part; or although, with the view of illustrating his meaning, and making it 
thoroughly clear, the person to whom authority is given to compose the narrative makes 
some additions of his own, not indeed in the subject-matter itself, but in the words by which 
it is expressed; or although, while retaining a perfectly reliable comprehension of the fact 
itself, he may not be entirely successful, however he may make that his aim, in calling to 
mind and reciting anew with the most literal accuracy the very words which he heard on 
the occasion. Moreover, if any one affirms that the evangelists ought certainly to have had 
that kind of capacity imparted to them by the power of the Holy Spirit, which would secure 
them against all variation the one from the other, either in the kind of words, or in their 


800 Dispensato. 


259 



Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


order, or in their number, that person fails to perceive, that j ust in proportion as the authority 
of the evangelists [under their existing conditions] is made pre-eminent, the credit of all 
other men who offer true statements of events ought to have been established on a stronger 
basis by their instrumentality: so that when several parties happen to narrate the same cir- 
cumstance, none of them can by any means be rightly charged with untruthfulness if he 
differs from the other only in such a way as can be defended on the ground of the antecedent 
example of the evangelists themselves. For as we are not at liberty either to suppose or to 
say that any one of the evangelists has stated what is false, so it will be apparent that any 
other writer is as little chargeable with untruth, with whom, in the process of recalling any- 
thing for narration, it has fared only in a way similar to that in which it is shown to have 
fared with those evangelists. And just as it belongs to the highest morality to guard against 
all that is false, so ought we all the more to be ruled by an authority so eminent, to the effect 
that we should not suppose ourselves to come upon what must be false, when we find the 
narratives of any writers differ from each other in the manner in which the records of the 
evangelists are proved to contain variations. At the same time, in what most seriously con- 
cerns the faithfulness of doctrinal teaching, we should also understand that it is not so much 
in mere words, as rather truth in the facts themselves, that is to be sought and embraced; 
for as to writers who do not employ precisely the same modes of statement, if they only do 
not present discrepancies with respect to the facts and the sentiments themselves, we accept 

om 

them as holding the same position in veracity. 

29. With respect, then, to those comparisons which I have instituted between the several 
narratives of the evangelists, what do these present that must be considered to be of a con- 
tradictory order? Are we to regard in this light the circumstance that one of them has given 
us the words, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear,” whereas the others speak of the “un- 
loosing of the latchet of the shoe”? For here, indeed, the difference seems to be neither in 
the mere words, nor in the order of the words, nor in any matter of simple phraseology, but 
in the actual matter of fact, when in the one case the “bearing of the shoe” is mentioned, 
and in the other the “unloosing of the shoe’s latchet.” Quite fairly, therefore, may the question 
be put, as to what it was that John declared himself unworthy to do — whether to bear the 
shoes, or to unloose the shoe’s latchet. For if only the one of these two sentences was uttered 
by him, then that evangelist will appear to have given the correct narrative who was in a 
position to record what was said; while the writer who has given the saying in another form, 
although he may not indeed have offered an [intentionally] false account of it, may at any 
rate be taken to have made a slip of memory, and will be reckoned thus to have stated one 
thing instead of another. It is only seemly, however, that no charge of absolute unveracity 


801 Or, as abiding by the same truth — in eadem veritate constitisse approbamus. 


260 



Concerning the Words Ascribed to John by All the Four Evangelists Respe... 


should be laid against the evangelists, and that, too, not only with regard to that kind of 
unveracity which comes by the positive telling of what is false, but also with regard to that 
which arises through forgetfulness. Therefore, if it is pertinent to the matter to deduce one 
sense from the words “to bear the shoes,” and another sense from the words “to unloose 
the shoe’s latchet,” what should one suppose the correct interpretation to be put on the facts, 
but that John did give utterance to both these sentences, either on two different occasions 
or in one and the same connection? For he might very well have expressed himself thus, 
“whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, and whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:” 
and then one of the evangelists may have reproduced the one portion of the saying, and the 
rest of them the other; while, notwithstanding this, all of them have really given a veracious 
narrative. But further, if, when he spoke of the shoes of the Lord, John meant nothing more 
than to convey the idea of His supremacy and his own lowliness, then, whichever of the two 
sayings may have actually been uttered by him, whether that regarding the unloosing of the 
latchet of the shoes, or that respecting the bearing of the shoes, the self-same sense is still 
correctly preserved by any writer who, while making mention of the shoes in words of his 
own, has expressed at the same time the same idea of lowliness, and thus has not made any 
departure from the real mind [of the person of whom he writes]. It is therefore a useful 
principle, and one particularly worthy of being borne in mind, when we are speaking of the 
concord of the evangelists, that there is no divergence [to be supposed] from truth, even 
when they introduce some saying different from what was actually uttered by the person 
concerning whom the narrative is given, provided that, notwithstanding this, they set forth 
as his mind precisely what is also so conveyed by that one among them who reproduces the 
words as they were literally spoken. For thus we learn the salutary lesson, that our aim should 
be nothing else than to ascertain what is the mind and intention of the person who speaks. 


261 



Of the Baptism of Jesus. 


Chapter XIII. — Of the Baptism of Jesus. 

30. Matthew then continues his narrative in the following terms: “Then cometh Jesus 
from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I 
have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto 
him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered 
Him.” The others also attest the fact that Jesus came to John. The three also mention that 
He was baptized. But they omit all mention of one circumstance recorded by Matthew, 

ono 

namely, that John addressed the Lord, or that the Lord made answer to John. 


802 Dimisit eum. 

803 Matt. iii. 13-15; Mark i. 9; Luke iii. 21; John i. 32-34. 


262 


Of the Words or the Voice that Came from Heaven Upon Him When He Had Been... 


Chapter XIV. — Of the Words or the Voice that Came from Heaven Upon Him When 

He Had Been Baptized. 

31. Thereafter Matthew proceeds thus: “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up 
straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the 
Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him; and, lo, a voice from heaven 
saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This incident is also recorded 
in a similar manner by two of the others, namely Mark and Luke. But at the same time, 
while preserving the sense intact, they use different modes of expression in reproducing the 
terms of the voice which came from heaven. For although Matthew tells us that the words 
were, “This is my beloved Son,” while the other two put them in this form, “Thou art my 
beloved Son,” these different methods of speech serve but to convey the same sense, according 
to the principle which has been discussed above. For the heavenly voice gave utterance only 
to one of these sentences; but by the form of words thus adopted, namely, “This is my beloved 
Son,” it was the evangelist’s intention to show that the saying was meant to intimate specially 
to the hearers there [and not to Jesus] the fact that He was the Son of God. With this view, 
he chose to give the sentence, “Thou art my beloved Son,” this turn, “This is my beloved 
Son,” as if it were addressed directly to the people. For it was not meant to intimate to Christ 
a fact which He knew already; but the object was to let the people who were present hear it, 
for whose sakes indeed the voice itself was given. But furthermore now, with regard to the 
circumstance that the first of them puts the saying thus, “In whom I am well pleased,” 804 

nr\r 

the second thus, “In Thee I am well pleased;” and the third thus, “In Thee it has pleased 
me;” — if you ask which of these different modes represents what was actually expressed 
by the voice, you may fix on whichever you will, provided only that you understand that 
those of the writers who have not reproduced the self-same form of speech have still repro- 
duced the identical sense intended to be conveyed. And these variations in the modes of 
expression are also useful in this way, that they make it possible for us to reach a more ad- 
equate conception of the saying than might have been the case with only one form, and that 
they also secure it against being interpreted in a sense not consonant with the real state of 
the case. For as to the sentence, “In whom I am well pleased,” if any one thinks of taking 

it as if it meant that God is pleased with Himself in the Son, he is taught a lesson of prudence 

« „OQO 

by the other turn which is given to the saying, In Thee I am well pleased.” And on the 


804 In quo mihi complacui — well pleased with myself. 

805 In te complacui. 

806 In te complacuit mihi. Matt. iii. 16, 17; Mark i. 10, 11; Luke iii. 22. [The Greek mss., of most weight, show 
no variation between Mark and Luke in the last clause. — R.] 

807 In quo mihi complacui — as if = "in" whom I am well pleased with myself 

808 In te complacui. 


263 


Of the Words or the Voice that Came from Heaven Upon Him When He Had Been... 


other hand, if, looking at this last by itself, any one supposes the meaning to be, that in the 
Son the Father had favour with men, he learns something from the third form of the utter- 
ance, “In Thee it has pleased me .” 809 From this it becomes sufficiently apparent, that 
whichever of the evangelists may have preserved for us the words as they were literally 
uttered by the heavenly voice, the others have varied the terms only with the obj ect of setting 
forth the same sense more familiarly; so that what is thus given by all of them might be un- 
derstood as if the expression were: In Thee I have set my good pleasure; that is to say, by 

oin 

Thee to do what is my pleasure. But once more, with respect to that rendering which is 
contained in some codices of the Gospel according to Luke, and which bears that the words 
heard in the heavenly voice were those that are written in the Psalm, “Thou art my Son, this 

Oil 

day have I begotten Thee;” although it is said not to be found in the more ancient Greek 
codices, yet if it can be established by any copies worthy of credit, what results but that we 
suppose both voices to have been heard from heaven, in one or other verbal order? 


809 In te complacuit mihi. 

810 In teplacitum meum constitui, hoc est, per tegerere quod mihi placet. [Greek aorist points to a past act; 
hence “set my good pleasure” is a better rendering of the verb, in all three accounts, than “am well pleased.” — R.] 

811 Ps. ii. 7. 


264 


An Explanation of the Circumstance That, According to the Evangelist John,... 


Chapter XV. — An Explanation of the Circumstance That, According to the Evangelist 
John, John the Baptist Says, “I Knew Him Not;” While, According to the Others, 
It is Found that He Did Already Know Him. 

32. Again, the account of the dove given in the Gospel according to John does not 
mention the time at which the incident happened, but contains a statement of the words of 
John the Baptist as reporting what he saw. In this section, the question rises as to how it is 
said, “And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto 
me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is 
He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” For if he came to know Him only at the time 
when he saw the dove descending upon Him, the inquiry is raised as to how he could have 

oi o 

said to Him, as He came to be baptized, “I ought rather to be baptized of Thee.” For the 
Baptist addressed Him thus before the dove descended. From this, however, it is evident 
that, although he did know Him [in a certain sense] before this time, — for he even leaped 
in his mother s womb when Mary visited Elisabeth, — there was yet something which was 
not known to him up to this time, and which he learned by the descending of the 
dove, — namely, the fact that He baptized in the Holy Spirit by a certain divine power proper 
to Himself; so that no man who received this baptism from God, even although he baptized 
some, should be able to say that that which he imparted was his own, or that the Holy 
Spirit was given by him. 


812 John i. 33. 

813 Matt. iii. 14. 

814 Luke i. 41. 


265 


Of the Temptation of Jesus. 


Chapter XVI. — Of the Temptation of Jesus. 

33. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in these terms: “Then was Jesus led up of the 
Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days 
and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he 
said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered 
and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth 
out of the mouth of God. And so the account continues, until we come to the words, Then 

01 r oir 

the devil left him: and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.” This whole 
narrative is given also in a similar manner by Luke, although not in the same order. And 
this makes it uncertain which of the two latter temptations took place first: whether it was 
that the kingdoms of the world were shown Him first, and then that He Himself was taken 
up to the pinnacle of the temple thereafter; or whether it was that this latter act occurred 
first, and that the other scene followed it. It is, however, a matter of no real consequence, 
provided it be clear that all these incidents did take place. And as Luke sets forth the same 
events and ideas in different words, attention need not ever be called to the fact that no loss 
results thereby to truth. Mark, again, does indeed attest the fact that He was tempted of the 
devil in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights; but he gives no statement of what was 
said to Him, or of the replies He made. At the same time, he does not fail to notice the cir- 

O 1 H 

cumstance which is omitted by Luke, namely, that the angels ministered unto Him. John, 
however, has left out this whole passage. 


815 Reliquit. 

816 Matt. iv. 1-11. 

817 Mark i. 12, 13; Luke iv. 1-13. 


266 


Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 


Chapter XVII. — Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 

34. Matthew’s narrative is continued thus: “Now when Jesus had heard that John was 

cast into prison, He departed into Galilee.” Mark states the same fact, as also does Luke, 

only Luke says nothing in the present section as to John being cast into prison. The evangelist 
John, again, tells us that, before Jesus went into Galilee, Peter and Andrew were with Him 
one day, and that on that occasion the former had this name, Peter, given him, while before 
that period he was called Simon. Likewise John tells us, that on the day following, when Jesus 
was now desirous of going forth unto Galilee, He found Philip, and said to him that he 
should follow Him. Thus, too, the evangelist comes to give the narrative about Nathanael. 
Further, he informs us that on the third day, when He was yet in Galilee, Jesus wrought the 
miracle of the turning of the water into wine at Cana. All these incidents are left unrecor- 
ded by the other evangelists, who continue their narratives at once with the statement of 
the return of Jesus into Galilee. Hence we are to understand that there was an interval here 
of several days, during which those incidents took place in the history of the disciples which 
are inserted at this point by John. " Neither is there anything contradictory here to that 
other passage where Matthew tells us how the Lord said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon 
this rock will I build my Church. But we are not to understand that that was the time 
when he first received this name; but we are rather to suppose that this took place on the 
occasion when it was said to him, as John mentions, “Thou shall be called Cephas, which 
is, by interpretation, A stone. Thus the Lord could address him at that later period by 
this very name, when He said, “Thou art Peter.” For He does not say then, “Thou shalt be 
called Peter,” but, “Thou art Peter;” because on a previous occasion he had already been 
spoken to in this manner, “Thou shalt be called.” 

35. After this, Matthew goes on with his narrative in these terms: “And leaving the city 
of Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capharnaum, which is upon the sea-coast, in the borders 
of Zabulon and Nephthalim;” and so forth, until we come to the conclusion of the sermon 
which He delivered on the mount. In this section of the narrative, Mark agrees with him in 
attesting the calling of the disciples Peter and Andrew, and a little after that, the calling of 
James and John. But whereas Matthew introduces in this immediate context his account of 



818 Matt. iv. 12. 

819 Mark i. 14; Luke iv. 14. 

820 John i. 39, etc. 

821 John ii. 1-11. 

822 [The interval between the temptation and the return to Galilee, referred to by the Synoptists, was at least 
nine months; possibly more than a year. Augustin implies, in § 42, that this journey was a different one. — R.] 

823 Matt. xvi. 18. 

824 John i. 42. 


267 


Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 


that lengthened sermon which He delivered on the mount, after He cured a multitude, and 
when great crowds followed Him, Mark has inserted other matters at this point, touching 
His teaching in the synagogue, and the people’s amazement at His doctrine. Then, too, he 
has stated what Matthew also states, although not till after that lengthened sermon has been 
given, namely, that “He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” He 
has likewise given us the account of the man out of whom the unclean spirit was cast; and 
after that the story of Peter’s mother-in-law. In these things, moreover, Luke is in accord 
with him. But Matthew has given us no notice of the evil spirit here. The story of Peter’s 

O') ft. 

mother-in-law, however, he has not omitted, only he brings it in at a later stage. 

36. In this paragraph, moreover, which we are at present considering, the same Matthew 
follows up his account of the calling of those disciples to whom, when they were engaged 
in fishing, He gave the command to follow Him, by a narrative to the effect that He went 
about Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the gospel, and healing all manner 
of sickness; and that when multitudes had gathered about Him, He went up into a mountain, 
and delivered that lengthened sermon [already alluded to]. Thus the evangelist gives us 
ground for understanding that those incidents which are recorded by Mark after the election 
of those same disciples, took place at the period when He was going about Galilee, and 
teaching in their synagogues. We are at liberty also to suppose that what happened to Peter’s 
mother-in-law came in at this point; and that he has mentioned at a later stage what he has 
passed over here, although he has not indeed brought up at that later point, for direct recital, 

Q') r 7 

everything else which is omitted at the earlier. 

37. The question may indeed be raised as to how John gives us this account of the calling 
of the disciples, which is to the effect that, certainly not in Galilee, but in the vicinity of the 
Jordan, Andrew first of all became a follower of the Lord, together with another disciple 
whose name is not declared; that, in the second place, Peter got that name from Him; and 
thirdly, that Philip was called to follow Him; whereas the other three evangelists, in a satis- 
factory concord with each other, Matthew and Mark in particular being remarkably at one 
here, tell us that the men were called when they were engaged in fishing. Luke, it is true, 
does not mention Andrew by name. Nevertheless, we can gather that he was in that same 
vessel, from the narrative of Matthew and Mark, who furnish a concise history of the manner 
in which the affair was gone about. Luke, however, presents us with a fuller and clearer ex- 
position of the circumstances, and gives us also an account of the miracle which was per- 
formed there in the haul of fishes, and of the fact that previous to that the Lord spake to the 


825 Matt. iv. 13, vii. 29; Mark i. 16-31; Luke iv. 31-39. 

826 Matt. viii. 14, 15. 

827 [There is here a partial recognition of the fact, now widely received, that the order of Mark is the most 
exact. No harmony can be successfully constructed on the order of Matthew. — R.] 


268 


Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 


multitudes when He was seated in the boat. There may also seem to be a discrepancy in this 
respect, that Luke records the saying, “From henceforth thou shalt catch men,” as if it 
had been addressed by the Lord to Peter alone, while the others have exhibited it as spoken 
to both the brothers. But it may very well be the case that these words were spoken first 
to Peter himself, when he was seized with amazement at the immense multitude of fishes 
which were caught, and this will then be the incident introduced by Luke; and that they 
were addressed to the two together somewhat later, which [second utterance] will be the 
one noticed by the other two evangelists. Therefore the circumstance which we have men- 
tioned with regard to John’s narrative deserves to be carefully considered; for it may indeed 
be supposed to bring before us a contradiction of no slight importance. For if it be the case 
that in the vicinity of the Jordan, and before Jesus went into Galilee, two men, on hearing 
the testimony of John the Baptist, followed Jesus; that of these two disciples the one was 
Andrew, who at once went and brought his own brother Simon to Jesus; and that on this 
occasion that brother received the name Peter, by which he was thereafter to be called, — how 
can it be said by the other evangelists that He found them engaged in fishing in Galilee, and 
called them there to be His disciples? How can these diverse accounts be reconciled, 
unless it be that we are to understand that those men did not gain such a view of Jesus on 
the occasion connected with the vicinity of the Jordan as would lead them to attach them- 
selves to Him for ever, but that they simply came to know who He was, and, after their first 
wonder at His Person, returned to their former engagements? 

38. For [it is noticeable that] again in Cana of Galilee, after He had turned the water 
into wine, this same John tells us how His disciples believed on Him. The narrative of that 
miracle proceeds thus: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the 

Oil 

mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called and His disciples to the marriage.” 
Now, surely, if it was on this occasion that they believed on Him, as the evangelist tells us 
a little further on, they were not yet His disciples at the time when they were called to the 
marriage. This, however, is a mode of speech of the same kind with what is intended when 
we say that the Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia; for certainly he was not an 
apostle at that period. In like manner are we told here that the disciples of Christ were invited 
to the marriage, by which we are to understand, not that they were already disciples, but 
only that they were to be His disciples. For, at the time when this narrative was prepared 


828 Lukev. 10. 

829 Matt. iv. 10; Mark i. 17. 

830 Matt. iv. 13-23; Marki. 16-20; Lukev. 1-11; John i. 35-44. 

831 John ii. 1, 2. 

Acts xxii. 3. 


832 


269 


Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 


and committed to writing, they were the disciples of Christ in fact; and that is the reason 
why the evangelist, as the historian of past times, has thus spoken of them. 

39. But further, as to John’s statement, that “after this He went down to Capharnaum, 
He and His mother, and His brethren and His disciples; and they continued there not many 
days;’ it is uncertain whether by this period these men had already attached themselves 
to Him, in particular Peter and Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee. For Matthew first of all 

0 3 A 

tells us that He came and dwelt in Capharnaum, and then that He called them from their 
boats as they were engaged in fishing. On the other hand, John says that His disciples came 
with Him to Capharnaum. Now it may be the case that Matthew has but gone over here 
something he had omitted in its proper order. For he does not say, “After this, walking by 
the sea of Galilee, He saw two brethren,” but, without any indication of the strict consecution 

00c 

of time, simply, “And walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brethren,” and so forth: 

consequently it is quite possible that he has recorded at this later period not something 
which took place actually at that later time, but only something which he had omitted to 
introduce before; so that the men may be understood in this way to have come along with 
Him to Capharnaum, to which place John states that He did come, He and His mother and 
His disciples: or should we rather suppose that these were a different body of disciples, as 
He [may already have] had a follower in Philip, whom He called in this particular manner, 
by saying to him, “Follow me”? For in what order all the twelve apostles were called is not 
apparent from the narratives of the evangelists. Indeed, not only is the succession of the 
various callings left unrecorded; but even the fact of the calling is not mentioned in the case 
of all of them, the only vocations specified being those of Philip, and Peter and Andrew, 
and the sons of Zebedee, and Matthew the publican, who was also called Levi. The first 

0 ' 3'7 

and only person, however, who received a separate name from Him was Peter. For He 
did not give the sons of Zebedee their names individually, but He called them both together 

030 

the sons of thunder. 

40. Besides, we ought certainly to note the fact that the evangelical and apostolical 
Scriptures do not confine this designation of His “disciples” to those twelve alone, but give 
the same appellation to all those who believed on Him, and were educated under His instruc- 
tion for the kingdom of heaven. Out of the whole number of such He chose twelve, whom 
He also named apostles, as Luke mentions. For a little further on he says: And He came 


833 John ii. 12. 

834 Matt. iv. 13. 

835 Matt. iv. 18. 

836 Matt. iv. 18-22, ix. 9; Mark i. 16-20, ii. 14; Luke v. 1-11; John i. 35-44. 

837 John i. 42. 

838 Markiii. 17. 


270 


Of the Calling of the Apostles as They Were Fishing. 


OOQ 

down with them, and stood in the plain, and the concourse of His disciples and a great 
multitude of people. 840 And surely he would not speak of a “concourse” [or “crowd”] of 
disciples if he referred only to twelve men. In other passages of the Scriptures also the fact 
is plainly apparent, that all those were called His disciples who were instructed by Him in 
what pertained to eternal life. 

41. But the question may be asked, how He called the fishermen from their boats two 
by two, namely, calling Peter and Andrew first, and then going forward a little and calling 
other two, namely the sons of Zebedee, according to the narratives of Matthew and Mark; 
whereas Luke’s version of the matter is, that both their boats were filled with the immense 
haul of fishes. And his statement bears further, that Peter’s partners, to wit, James and John, 
the sons of Zebedee, were summoned to the men’s help when they were unable to drag out 
their crowded nets, and that all who were there were astonished at the enormous draught 
of fishes which had been taken; and that when Jesus said to Peter, “Fear not, from henceforth 
thou shall catch men,” although the words had been addressed to Peter alone, they all nev- 
ertheless followed Him when they had brought their ships to land. Well, we are to under- 

stand by this, that what Luke introduces here was what took place first, and that these men 
were not called by the Lord on this occasion, but only that the prediction was uttered to 
Peter by himself, that he would be a fisher of men. That saying, moreover, was not intended 
to convey that they would never thereafter be catchers of fish. For we read that even after 
the Lord’s resurrection they were engaged again in fishing. The words, therefore, imported 

simply that thereafter he would catch men, and they did not bear that henceforth he would 
not catch fish. And in this way we are at perfect liberty to suppose that they returned to the 
catching of fish, according to their habit; so that those incidents which are related by Matthew 
and Mark might easily take place at a period subsequent to this. I refer to what occurred at 
the time when He called the disciples two by two, and Himself gave them the command to 
follow Him, at first addressing Peter and Andrew, and then the others, namely, the two sons 
of Zebedee. For on that occasion they did not follow Him only after they had drawn up their 
ships on shore, as with the intention of returning to them, but they went after Him immedi- 
ately, as after one who summoned and commanded them to follow Him. 


839 Turba. 

840 Luke vi. 17. 

841 Luke v. 1-11, 
John xxi. 3. 


842 


271 


Of the Date of His Departure into Galilee. 


Chapter XVIII. — Of the Date of His Departure into Galilee. 

42. Furthermore, we must consider the question how the evangelist John, before there 
is any mention of the casting of John the Baptist into prison, tells us that Jesus went into 
Galilee. For, after relating how He turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, and how 
He came down to Capernaum with His mother and His disciples, and how they abode there 
not many days, he tells us that He went up then to Jerusalem on account of the passover; 
that after this He came into the land of Judaea along with His disciples, and tarried there 
with them, and baptized; and then in what follows at this point the evangelist says: “And 
John also was baptizing in /Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there; and 
they came, and were baptized: for John was not yet cast into prison.” On the other hand, 
Matthew says: “Now when He had heard that John was cast into prison, Jesus departed into 
Galilee.” 844 In like manner, Mark’s words are: “Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus 
came into Galilee.” Luke, again, says nothing indeed about the imprisonment of John; 
but notwithstanding this, after his account of the baptism and temptation of Christ, he also 
makes a statement to the same effect with that of these other two, namely, that Jesus went 
into Galilee. For he has connected the several parts of his narrative here in this way: “And 
when all the temptation was ended, the devil departed from Him for a season; and Jesus 
returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and there went out a fame of Him through 
all the region round about.” From all this, however, we may gather, not that these three 
evangelists have made any statement opposed to the evangelist John, but only that they have 
left unrecorded the Lord’s first advent in Galilee after His baptism; on which occasion also 
He turned the water into wine there. For at that period John had not yet been cast into 
prison. And we are also to understand that these three evangelists have introduced into the 
context of these narratives an account of another journey of His into Galilee, which took 
place after John’s imprisonment, regarding which return into Galilee the evangelist John 
himself furnishes the following notice: “When, therefore, Jesus knew how the Pharisees had 
heard that Jesus makes and baptizes more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself baptized 
not, but His disciples), he left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.” So, then, we per- 
ceive that by that time John had been already cast into prison; and further, that the Jews 
had heard that He was making and baptizing more disciples than John had made and bap- 
tized. 


843 John ii. 13, iii. 22-24. 

844 Matt. iv. 12. 

845 Mark i. 14. 

846 Luke iv. 13, 14. 

John iv. 1-3. 


847 


272 


Of the Lengthened Sermon Which, According to Matthew, He Delivered on the... 


Chapter XIX. — Of the Lengthened Sermon Which, According to Matthew, He De- 
livered on the Mount. 

43. Now, regarding that lengthened sermon which, according to Matthew, the Lord 
delivered on the mount, let us at present see whether it appears that the rest of the evangelists 
stand in no manner of antagonism to it. Mark, it is true, has not recorded it at all, neither 
has he preserved any utterances of Christ’s in any way resembling it, with the exception of 
certain sentences which are not given connectedly, but occur here and there, and which the 
Lord repeated in other places. Nevertheless, he has left a space in the text of his narrative 
indicating the point at which we may understand this sermon to have been spoken, although 
it has been left unrecited. That is the place where he says: “And He was preaching in their 
synagogues, and in all Galilee, and was casting out devils.” Under the head of this 
preaching, in which he says Jesus engaged in all Galilee, we may also understand that dis- 
course to be comprehended which was delivered on the mount, and which is detailed by 
Matthew. For the same Mark continues his account thus: “And there came a leper to Him, 
beseeching Him; and kneeling down to Him, said, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me 
clean.” 849 And he goes on with the rest of the story of the cleansing of this leper, in such a 
manner as to make it intelligible to us that the person in question is the very man who is 
mentioned by Matthew as having been healed at the time when the Lord came down from 
the mount after the delivery of His discourse. For this is how Matthew gives the history 
there: “Now, when He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him; 
and, behold, there came a leper, and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst 

oro 

make me clean;” and so on. 

O IT 1 

44. This leper is also referred to by Luke, not indeed in this order, but after the 
manner in which the writers are accustomed to act, recording at a subsequent point things 
which have been omitted at a previous stage, or bringing in at an earlier point occurrences 
which took place at a later period, according as they had incidents suggested to their minds 
by the heavenly influence, with which indeed they had become acquainted before, but which 
they were afterwards prompted to commit to writing as they came up to their recollection. 
This same Luke, however, has also left us a version of his own of that copious discourse of 
the Lord, in a passage which he commences just as the section in Matthew begins. For in 
the latter the words run thus: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of 


848 Mark i. 39. 

849 Mark i. 40. 

850 Matt. viii. 1, 2. 

851 Lukev. 12, 13. [It seems altogether more probable that the healing of the leper occurred, before the Sermon 
on the Mount, at the time indicated by Luke. — R.] 


273 


Of the Lengthened Sermon Which, According to Matthew, He Delivered on the... 


or 9 

heaven;” while in the former they are put thus: “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the 

on 

kingdom of God.” Then, too, much of what follows in Luke’s narrative is similar to what 
we have in the other. And finally, the conclusion given to the sermon is repeated in both 
Gospels in its entire identity, — namely, the story of the wise man who builds upon the rock, 
and the foolish man who builds upon the sand; the only difference being, that Luke speaks 
only of the stream beating against the house, and does not mention also the rain and the 
wind, as they occur in Matthew. Accordingly, it might very readily be believed that he has 
there introduced the self-same discourse of the Lord, but that at the same time he has 
omitted certain sentences which Matthew has inserted; that he has also brought in other 
sayings which Matthew has not mentioned; and that, in a similar manner, he has expressed 
certain of these utterances in somewhat different terms, but without detriment to the integrity 
of the truth. 

45. This we might very well suppose to have been the case, as I have said, were it not 
that a difficulty is felt to attach to the circumstance that Matthew tells us how this discourse 
was delivered on a mount by the Lord in a sitting posture; while Luke says that it was spoken 
on a plain by the Lord in a standing posture. This difference, accordingly, makes it seem as 
if the former referred to one discourse, and the latter to another. And what should there be, 
indeed, to hinder [us from supposing] Christ to have repeated elsewhere some words which 
He had already spoken, or from doing a second time certain things which He had already 
done on some previous occasion? However, that these two discourses, of which the one is 
inserted by Matthew and the other by Luke, are not separated by a long space of time, is 
with much probability inferred from the fact that, at once in what precedes and in what 
follows them, both the evangelists have related certain incidents either similar or perfectly 
identical, so that it is not unreasonably felt that the narrations of the writers who introduce 
these things are occupied with the same localities and days. For Matthew’s recital proceeds 
in the following terms: “And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, 
and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. And 
seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain; and when He was set, His disciples 
came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor 

oca 

in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and so forth. Here it may appear that His 

desire was to free Himself from the great crowds of people, and that for this reason He went 
up into the mountain, as if He meant to withdraw Himself from the multitudes, and seek 
an opportunity of speaking with His disciples alone. And this seems to be certified also by 
Luke, whose account is to the following effect: “And it came to pass in those days, that He 


852 Matt. v. 3. 

853 Luke vi. 20. 

854 Matt. iv. 25, etc. 


274 


Of the Lengthened Sermon Which, According to Matthew, He Delivered on the... 


went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it 
was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He 
named apostles; Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and 
John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon, 
who is called Zelotes, Judas the brother of James, and Judas Scarioth, which was the traitor. 
And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples, 
and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of 

ore 

Tyre and Sidon, which had come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases; and 
they that were vexed with unclean spirits were healed. And the whole multitude sought 
to touch Him; for there went virtue out of Him, and healed them all. And He lifted up His 

O ry 

eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of heaven;” 
and so on. Here the relation permits us to understand that, after selecting on the mountain 
twelve disciples out of the larger body, whom He also named apostles (which incident 
Matthew has omitted), He then delivered that discourse which Matthew has introduced, 
and which Luke has left unnoticed, — that is to say, the one on the mount; and that thereafter, 
when He had now come down, He spoke in the plain a second discourse similar to the first, 
on which Matthew is silent, but which is detailed by Luke; and further, that both these ser- 

o r o 

mons were concluded in the same manner. 

46. But, again, as regards what Matthew proceeds to state after the termination of that 
discourse — namely this, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the 
people were astonished at His doctrine,” — it may appear that the speakers there were 
those multitudes of disciples out of whom He had chosen the twelve. Moreover, when the 
evangelist goes on immediately in these terms, “And when He was come down from the 
mountain, great multitudes followed Him; and, behold, there came a leper and worshipped 

Q/7 1 

Him,” we are at libertyto suppose that that incident took place subsequently to both 
discourses, — not only after the one which Matthew records, but also after the one which 
Luke inserts. For it is not made apparent what length of time elapsed after the descent from 
the mountain. But Matthew’s intention was simply to indicate the fact itself, that after that 
descent there were great multitudes of people with the Lord on the occasion when He 
cleansed the leper, and not to specify what period of time had intervened. And this suppos- 


855 Various mss. and editions insert et before the Tyri = both of Tyre, although it is wanting in the Greek. 

856 Qui vexabantur a spiritibus immundis curabantur. 

857 Luke vi. 12-20. 

858 [The explanation suggested in § 47 is altogether more probable. — R.] 

859 Turbce, multitudes. 

860 Matt. vii. 28. 

861 Matt. viii. 1, 2. 


275 


Of the Lengthened Sermon Which , According to Matthew, He Delivered on the... 


ition may all the more readily be entertained, since [we find that] Luke tells us how the same 
leper was cleansed at a time when the Lord was now in a certain city, — a circumstance which 
Matthew has not cared to mention. 

47. After all, however, this explanation may also be suggested, — namely, that in the first 
instance the Lord, along with His disciples and no others, was on some more elevated portion 
of the mountain, and that during the period of His stay there He chose out of the number 
of His followers those twelve; that then He came down in company with them, not indeed 
from the mountain itself, but from that said altitude on the mountain, into the plain — that 
is to say, into some level spot which was found on the slope of the mountain, and which 
was capable of accommodating great multitudes; and that thereafter, when He had seated 
Himself, His disciples took up their position next Him, and in these circumstances He de- 
livered both to them and to the other multitudes who were present one discourse, which 
Matthew and Luke have both recorded, their modes of narrating it being indeed different, 
but the truth being given with equal fidelity by the two writers in all that concerns the facts 
and sayings which both of them have recounted. For we have already prefaced our inquiry 
with the position, which indeed ought of itself to have been obvious to all without the need 
of any one to give them counsel to that effect beforehand, that there is not [necessarily] any 
antagonism between writers, although one may omit something which another mentions; 
nor, again, although one states a fact in one way, and another in a different method, provided 
that the same truth is set forth in regard to the objects and sayings themselves. In this way, 
therefore, Matthew’s sentence, “Now when He was come down from the mountain,” may 
at the same time be understood to refer also to the plain, which there might very well have 
been on the slope of the mountain. And thereafter Matthew tells the story of the cleansing 
of the leper, which is also given in a similar manner by Mark and Luke. 


276 



An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew Tells Us How the Centurion... 


Chapter XX. — An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew Tells Us How the 
Centurion Came to Jesus on Behalf of His Servant, While Luke’s Statement is 
that the Centurion Despatched Friends to Him. 

48. After these things, Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And 
when Jesus was entered into Capharnaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching 
Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and he is grievously tor- 
mented;” and so forth, on to the place where it is said, “And his servant was healed in the 
self-same hour.” This case of the centurion’s servant is related also by Luke; only Luke 
does not bring it in, as Matthew does, after the cleansing of the leper, whose story he has 
recorded as something suggested to his recollection at a later stage, but introduces it after 
the conclusion of that lengthened sermon already discussed. For he connects the two sections 
in this way: “Now when He had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people, He 
entered into Capharnaum; and a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was 
sick and ready to die;” and so forth, until we come to the verse where it is said that he was 
healed. Here, then, we notice that it was not till after He had ended all His words in the 
hearing of the people that Christ entered Capharnaum; by which we are to understand 
simply that He did not make that entrance before He had brought these sayings to their 
conclusion; and we are not to take it as intimating the length of that period of time which 
intervened between the delivery of these discourses and the entrance into Capharnaum. In 
this interval that leper was cleansed, whose case is recorded by Matthew in its own proper 

Qf.A 

place, but is given by Luke only at a later point. 

49. Accordingly, let us proceed to consider whether Matthew and Luke are at one in 
the account of this servant. Matthew’s words, then, are these: “There came unto Him a 
centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy.” ' Now 
this seems to be inconsistent with the version presented by Luke, which runs thus: “And 
when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He 
would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him instantly, 
saying, That he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he 
hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when He was now not far from 
the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, Lord, trouble not Thyself; 
for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I 

Qf.f. 

myself worthy to come unto Thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” 


862 Matt. viii. 5-13. 

863 Lukevii. 1-10. 

864 [But see note on § 44. — R.] 

865 Matt. viii. 5, 6. 

Luke vii. 3-7. 


866 


277 


An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew Tells Us How the Centurion... 


For if this was the manner in which the incident took place, how can Matthew’s statement, 
that there “came to Him a certain centurion,” be correct, seeing that the man did not come 
in person, but sent his friends? The apparent discrepancy, however, will disappear if we look 
carefully into the matter, and observe that Matthew has simply held by a very familiar mode 

O/T'7 

of expression. For not only are we accustomed to speak of one as coming even before he 

ozro 

actually reaches the place he is said to have approached, whence, too, we speak of one as 

O/TQ 

making small approach or making great approach to what he is desirous of reaching; but 
we also not unfrequently speak of that access, for the sake of getting at which the approach 
is made, as reached even although the person who is said to reach another may not himself 
see the individual whom he reaches, inasmuch as it maybe through a friend that he reaches 
the person whose favour is necessary to him. This, indeed, is a custom which has so thor- 
oughly established itself, that even in the language of every-day life now those men are called 

0-71 0 - 7-7 

Perventores' who, in the practice of canvassing, get at the inaccessible ears, as one may 
say, of any of the men of influence, by the intervention of suitable personages. If, therefore, 

0-77 

access itself is thus familiarly said to be gained by the means of other parties, how much 
more may an approach be said to take place, although it be by means of others, which 
always remains something short of actual access! For it is surely the case, that a person may 
be able to do very much in the way of approach, but yet may have failed to succeed in actually 
reaching what he sought to get at. Consequently it is nothing out of the way for Matthew, — a 
fact, indeed, which may be understood by any intelligence, — when thus dealing with an 
approach on the part of the centurion to the Lord, which was effected in the person of others, 
to have chosen to express the matter in this compendious method, “There came a centurion 
to Him.” 

50. At the same time, however, we must be careful enough to discern a certain mystical 
depth in the phraseology adopted by the evangelist, which is in accordance with these words 
of the Psalm, “Come ye to Him, and be ye lightened.” For in this way, inasmuch as the 
Lord Himself commended the faith of the centurion, in which indeed his approach was 
really made to Jesus, in such terms that He declared, “I have not found so great faith in Israel,” 


867 Accessisse , approaching. 

868 Accessisse , come to. 

869 Parum accessit vel multum accessit. 

870 Perventio, arrival. 

871 Reachers, comers at. 

872 Ambitionis arte. 

873 Perventio. 

874 Coming at — accessus. 

875 Accedite ad eum et illuminamini. Ps. xxxiv. 5. 


278 


An Explanation of the Circumstance that Matthew Tells Us How the Centurion... 


the evangelist wisely chose to speak of the man himself as coming to Jesus, rather than to 
bring in the persons through whom he had conveyed his words. And furthermore, Luke 
has unfolded the whole incident to us just as it occurred, in a form constraining us to under- 
stand from his narrative in what manner another writer, who was also incapable of making 
any false statement, might have spoken of the man himself as coming. It is in this way, too, 
that the woman who suffered from the issue of blood, although she took hold merely of the 
hem of His garment, did yet touch the Lord more effectually than those multitudes did by 
whom He was thronged. For just as she touched the Lord the more effectually, in so far 
as she believed the more earnestly, so the centurion also came the more really to the Lord, 
inasmuch as he believed the more thoroughly. And now, as regards the rest of this paragraph, 
it would be a superfluous task to go over in detail the various matters which are recounted 
by the one and omitted by the other. For, according to the principle brought under notice 
at the outset, there is not to be found in these peculiarities any actual antagonism between 
the writers. 


876 Luke vii. 42-48. 


279 


Of the Order in Which the Narrative Concerning Peter’s Mother-In-Law is... 


Chapter XXI. — Of the Order in Which the Narrative Concerning Peter’s Mother- 

In-Law is Introduced. 

51. Matthew proceeds in the following terms: “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s 
house, He saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the 
fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.” Matthew has not indicated the 
date of this incident; that is to say, he has specified neither before what event nor after what 
occurrence it took place. For we are certainly under no necessity of supposing that, because 
it is recorded after a certain event, it must also have happened in actual matter of fact after 
that event. And unquestionably, in this case, we are to understand that he has introduced 
for record here something which he had omitted to notice previously. For Mark brings in 
this narrative before his account of that cleansing of the leper which he would appear to 
have placed after the delivery of the sermon on the mount; which discourse, however, 

070 

he has left unrelated. And thus, too, Luke inserts this story of Peter’s mother-in-law after 

non 

an occurrence which it follows likewise in Mark’s version, but also before that lengthened 
discourse, which has been reproduced by him, and which may appear to be one with the 
sermon which Matthew states to have been delivered on the mount. For of what consequence 
is it in what place any of them may give his account; or what difference does it make 
whether he inserts the matter in its proper order, or brings in at a particular point what was 
previously omitted, or mentions at an earlier stage what really happened at a later, provided 
only that he contradicts neither himself nor a second writer in the narrative of the same 
facts or of others? For as it is not in one’s own power, however admirable and trustworthy 
may be the knowledge he has once obtained of the facts, to determine the order in which 
he will recall them to memory (for the way in which one thing comes into a person’s mind 
before or after another is something which proceeds not as we will, but simply as it is given 
to us), it is reasonable enough to suppose that each of the evangelists believed it to have 
been his duty to relate what he had to relate in that order in which it had pleased God to 
suggest to his recollection the matters he was engaged in recording. At least this might hold 
good in the case of those incidents with regard to which the question of order, whether it 
were this or that, detracted nothing from evangelical authority and truth. 


877 Matt. viii. 14, 15. 

878 Cf. what is said above (chap. xix. 43) as to the note of time implied in the statement (Mark i. 39), that 
He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. [The order of Mark is probably 
correct. — R.] 

879 Luke iv. 38, 39. 

880 Referring, apparently, to the casting out of the unclean spirit (Mark i. 23, etc.; Luke iv. 33, etc.). 


280 


Of the Order in Which the Narrative Concerning Peter’s Mother-In-Law is... 


52. But as to the reason why the Holy Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as He 

OQ 1 

will, and who therefore undoubtedly, with a view to the establishing of their books on 
so distinguished an eminence of authority, also governs and rules the minds of the holy 
men themselves in the matter of suggesting the things they were to commit to writing, has 
left one historian at liberty to construct his narrative in one way, and another in a different 
fashion, that is a question which any one may look into with pious consideration, and for 
which, by divine help, the answer also may possibly be found. That, however, is not the object 
of the work which we have taken in hand at present. The task we have proposed to ourselves 
is simply to demonstrate that not one of the evangelists contradicts either himself or his 
fellow-historians, whatever be the precise order in which he may have had the ability or 
may have preferred to compose his account of matters belonging to the doings and sayings 
of Christ; and that, too, at once in the case of subjects identical with those recorded by others, 
and in the case of subjects different from these. For this reason, therefore, when the order 
of times is not apparent, we ought not to feel it a matter of any consequence what order any 
of them may have adopted in relating the events. But wherever the order is apparent, if the 
evangelist then presents anything which seems to be inconsistent with his own statements, 
or with those of another, we must certainly take the passage into consideration, and endeav- 
our to clear up the difficulty. 


881 ICor.xii. 11. 


281 


Of the Order of the Incidents Which are Recorded After This Section and... 


Chapter XXII. — Of the Order of the Incidents Which are Recorded After This Section 
and of the Question Whether Matthew, Mark, and Luke are Consistent with 
Each Other in These. 

53. Matthew, accordingly, continues his narration thus: “Now when the even was come, 
they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils; and He cast out the spirits 
with His word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by 
Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” 882 That 
this belongs in date to the same day, he indicates with sufficient clearness by these words 
which he subjoins, “Now when the even was come.” In a similar manner, after concluding 
his account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law with the sentence, “And she ministered 
unto them,” Mark has appended the following statement: “And at even, when the sun did 
set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed of the 
devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were 
sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because 
they knew Him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and 
departed into a solitary place.’ Here Mark appears to have preserved the order in such 
wise, that after the statement conveyed in the words “And at even,” he gives this note of 
time: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day.” And although there is no 
absolute necessity for supposing either that, when we have the words “And at even,” the 
reference must be to the evening of the very same day, or that when the phrase “In the 

004 

morning” meets us, it must mean the morning after the self-same night; still, however 
that may be, this order in the occurrences may fairly appear to have been preserved with a 
view to an orderly arrangement of the times. Moreover, Luke, too, after relating the story 
of Peter’s mother-in-law, while he does not indeed say expressly, “And at even,” has at least 
used a phrase which conveys the same sense. For he proceeds thus: “Now when the sun had 

00 c 

set, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid 
His hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying 
out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And He, rebuking them, suffered them 
not to speak: for they knew that He was Christ. And when it was day, He departed and went 

oor 

into a desert place.” Here, again, we see precisely the same order of times preserved as 
we discovered in Mark. But Matthew, who appears to have introduced the story of Peter’s 


882 Matt. viii. 16-18. 

883 Mark i. 31-35. 

884 Diluculum, dawn. 

885 Occidisset. 

Luke iv. 40-42. 


886 


282 


Of the Order of the Incidents Which are Recorded After This Section and... 


mother-in-law not according to the order in which the incident itself took place, but simply 
in the succession in which he had it suggested to his mind after previous omission, has first 
recorded what happened on that same day, to wit, when even was come; and thereafter, in- 
stead of subjoining the notice of the morning, goes on with his account in these terms: “Now 
when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the 

0 0'7 

other side of the lake.” This, then, is something new, differing from what is given in the 
context by Mark and Luke, who, after the notice of the even, bring in the mention of the 
morning. Consequently, as regards this verse in Matthew, “Now when Jesus saw great mul- 
titudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake,” we 
ought simply to understand that he has introduced here another fact which he has had 
brought to mind at this point, — namely, the fact that on a certain day, when Jesus had seen 
great multitudes about Him, He gave instructions to cross to the other side of the lake. 


887 Matt. viii. 18. 


283 


Of the Person Who Said to the Lord, 7 Will Follow Thee Whithersoever Thou... 


Chapter XXIII. — Of the Person Who Said to the Lord, “I Will Follow Thee Whither- 
soever Thou Goest;” And of the Other Things Connected Therewith, and of the 

Order in Which They are Recorded by Matthew and Luke. 

54. He next appends the following statement: “And a certain scribe came and said unto 
Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever thou goest;” and so on, down to the words, 

ooo 

“Let the dead bury their dead.” We have a narrative in similar terms also in Luke. But he 
inserts it only after a variety of other matters, and without any explicit note of the order of 
time, but after the fashion of one only bethinking himself of the incident at that point. He 
leaves us also uncertain whether he brings it in there as something previously omitted, or 
as an anticipatory notice of something which in actual fact took place subsequently to those 
incidents by which it is followed in the history. For he proceeds thus: “And it came to pass, 
that as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, I will follow Thee whithersoever 
Thou goest.” And the Lord’s answer is given here in precisely the same terms as we find 
recited in Matthew. Now, although Matthew tells us that this took place at the time when 
He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake, and Luke, on the other 
hand, speaks of an occasion when they “went in the way,” there is no necessary contradiction 
in that. For it may be the case that they went in the way just in order to come to the lake. 
Again, in what is said about the person who begged to be allowed first to bury his father, 
Matthew and Luke are thoroughly at one. For the mere fact that Matthew has introduced 
first the words of the man who made the request regarding his father, and that he has put 
after that the saying of the Lord, “Follow me,” whereas Luke puts the Lord’s command, 
“Follow me,” first, and the declaration of the petitioner second, is a matter of no consequence 
to the sense itself. Luke has also made mention of yet another person, who said, “Lord, I 
will follow Thee, but let me first bid them farewell which are at home at my house;” 890 of 
which individual Matthew says nothing. And thereafter Luke proceeds to another subject 
altogether, and not to what followed in the actual order of time. The passage runs: “And 

QQ 1 

after these things, the Lord appointed other seventy-two also.” That this occurred “after 
these things” is indeed manifest; but at what length of time after these things the Lord did 
so is not apparent. Nevertheless, in this interval that took place which Matthew subjoins 
next in succession. For the same Matthew still keeps up the order of time, and continues 
his narrative, as we shall now see. 


888 Matt. viii. 19-22. 

889 Luke ix. 57. 

890 Luke ix. 61. 

891 Septuaginta duo. Luke x. 1. [An early variation in the Greek text; comp. Revised Version margin. — R.] 

284 


Of the Lord’s Crossing the Lake on that Occasion on Which He Slept in the... 


Chapter XXIV. — Of the Lord’s Crossing the Lake on that Occasion on Which He 
Slept in the Vessel, and of the Casting Out of Those Devils Whom He Suffered 
to Go into the Swine; And of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew, 
Mark, and Luke of All that Was Done and Said on These Occasions. 

55. “And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, 
there arose a great tempest in the sea.” And so the story goes on, until we come to the words, 
“And He came into His own city.” Those two narratives which are told by Matthew in 
continuous succession, — namely, that regarding the calm upon the sea after Jesus was roused 
from His sleep and had commanded the winds, and that concerning the persons who were 
possessed with the fierce devil, and who brake their bands and were driven into the wilder- 
ness, — are given also in like manner by Mark and Luke. Some parts of these stories are 
expressed, indeed, in different terms by the different writers, but the sense remains the same. 
This is the case, for example, when Matthew represents the Lord to have said, “Why are ye 
fearful, O ye of little faith?” 894 while Mark’s version is, “Why are ye fearful? Is it that ye have 

one 

no faith?” For Mark’s word refers to that perfect faith which is like a grain of mustard 
seed; and so he, too, speaks in effect of the “little faith.” Luke, again, puts it thus: “Where is 
your faith?” Accordingly, the whole utterance may perhaps have gone thus: “Why are ye 
fearful? Where is your faith, O ye of little faith?” And so one of them records one part, and 
another another part, of the entire saying. The same may be the case with the words spoken 

QQ r 7 

by the disciples when they awoke Him. Matthew gives us: “Lord, save us: we perish.” 
Mark has: Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” And Luke says simply, Master, we 
perish.” 899 These different expressions, however, convey one and the same meaning on the 
part of those who were awaking the Lord, and who were wishful to secure their safety. 
Neither need we inquire which of these several forms is to be preferred as the one actually 
addressed to Christ. For whether they really used the one or the other of these three phras- 
eologies, or expressed themselves in different words, which are unrecorded by any one of 
the evangelists, but which were equally well adapted to give the like representation of what 


892 Matt. viii. 23-ix. 1. 

893 Mark iv. 36; Luke viii. 22-37. 

894 Matt. viii. 16. 

895 Mark iv. 40. [The variations in the Greek text are numerous. Augustin gives necdum, which represents 
the rending followed in the Revised Version. — R.] 

896 Luke viii. 25. 

897 Matt. viii. 25. 

898 Mark iv. 38. 

Luke viii. 24. 


899 


285 


Of the Lord’s Crossing the Lake on that Occasion on Which He Slept in the... 


was meant, what difference does it make in the fact itself? At the same time, it may also 
possibly have been the case that, when several parties in concert were trying to awake Him, 
all these various modes of expression had been used, one by one person, and another by 
another. In the same way, too, we may deal with the exclamation on the stilling of the tempest, 
which, according to Matthew, was, “What manner of man is this, that the winds and the 
sea obey Him?” 900 according to Mark, “What man, thinkest thou, is this, 901 that both the 
wind and the sea obey Him?” 902 and according to Luke, “What man, thinkest thou, is this? 903 
for He commandeth both the winds and the sea, 904 and they obey Him.” Who can fail to 
see that the sense in all these forms is quite identical? For the expression, “What man, thinkest 
thou, is this?” has precisely the same import with the other, “What manner of man is this?” 905 
And where the words “He commandeth” are omitted, it can at least be understood as a 
matter of course that the obedience is rendered to the person commanding. 

56. Moreover, with respect to the circumstance that Matthew states that there were two 
men who were afflicted with the legion of devils which received permission to go into the 
swine, whereas Mark and Luke instance only a single individual, we may suppose that one 
of these parties was a person of some kind of superior notability and repute, whose case was 
particularly lamented by that district, and for whose deliverance there was special anxiety. 
With the intention of indicating that fact, two of the evangelists have judged it proper to 
make mention only of the one person, in connection with whom the fame of this deed had 
been spread abroad the more extensively and remarkably. Neither should any scruple be 
excited by the different forms in which the words uttered by the possessed 906 have been 
reproduced by the various evangelists. For we may either resolve them all into one and the 
same thing, or suppose them all to have been actually spoken. Nor, again, should we find 
any difficulty in the circumstance that with Matthew the address is couched in the plural 
number, but with Mark and Luke in the singular. For these latter two tell us at the same 
time, that when the man was asked what was his name, he answered that he was Legion, 
because the devils were many. Nor, once more, is there any discrepancy between Mark’s 
statement that the herd of swine was round about the mountain, 907 and Luke’s, that they 


900 Matt. viii. 27. 

901 Quis putas est iste. 

902 Mark iv. 41. [The Greek text in Mark and Luke has nothing corresponding to “thinkest thou.” The Au- 
thorized Version, given above, has an unnecessary variation; “that,” “that,” “for.” The Greek particle is the same, 
and Augustin gives quia three times. — R.] 

903 Quis putas hie est. 

904 Mari. 

905 Qualis est hie. 

906 Or, the devils — deemonum. 


907 


Circa montem. [The correct Greek text is rendered “on the mountain side” in the Revised Version. — R.] 

286 


Of the Lord’s Crossing the Lake on that Occasion on Which He Slept in the... 


were on the mountain . 908 For the herd of swine was so great that one portion of it might 
be on the mountain, and another only round about it. For, as Mark has expressly informed 
us, there were about two thousand swine. 


908 In monte. 


287 



Of the Man Sick of the Palsy to Whom the Lord Said, ‘Thy Sins are Forgiven... 


Chapter XXV. — Of the Man Sick of the Palsy to Whom the Lord Said, “Thy Sins are 
Forgiven Thee,” And “Take Up Thy Bed;” And in Especial, of the Question 
Whether Matthew and Mark are Consistent with Each Other in Their Notice of 
the Place Where This Incident Took Place, in So Far as Matthew Says It Happened 
“In His Own City,” While Mark Says It Was in Capharnaum. 

57. Hereupon Matthew proceeds with his recital, still preserving the order of time, and 
connects his narrative in the following manner: — “And He entered into a ship, and passed 
over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, 
lying on a bed;” and so on down to where it is said, “But when the multitude saw it, they 
marvelled; and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” 909 Mark and Luke 
have also told the story of this paralytic. Now, as regards Matthew’s stating that the Lord 
said, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;” while Luke makes the address run, 
not as “son,” but as “man,” — this only helps to bring out the Lord’s meaning more explicitly. 
For these sins were [thus said to be] forgiven to the “man,” inasmuch as the very fact that 
he was a man would make it impossible for him to say, “I have not sinned;” and at the same 
time, that mode of address served to indicate that He who forgave sins to man was Himself 
God. Mark, again, has given the same form of words as Matthew, but he has left out the 
terms, “Be of good cheer.” It is also possible, indeed, that the whole saying ran thus: “Man, 
be of good cheer: son, thy sins are forgiven thee;” or thus: “Son, be of good cheer: man, thy 
sins are forgiven thee;” or the words may have been spoken in some other congruous order. 

58. A difficulty, however, may certainly arise when we observe how Matthew tells the 
story of the paralytic after this fashion: “And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and 
came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on 
a bed;” whereas Mark speaks of the incident as taking place not in His own city, which indeed 
is called Nazareth, but in Capharnaum. His narrative is to the following effect: — “And again 
He entered into Capharnaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. 
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive 
them, no, not so much as about the door: and He spake a word 910 unto them. And they 
came unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they 
could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and 
when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. And 


909 Matt. ix. 1-8. 

910 Loquebatur verbum. [“Was speaking the word” is probably the meaning. — R.] 


288 


Of the Man Sick of the Palsy to Whom the Lord Said, ‘Thy Sins are Forgiven... 


when Jesus saw their faith;” and so forth . 91 1 Luke, on the other hand, does not mention the 
place in which the incident happened, but gives the tale thus: “And it came to pass on a 
certain day that He was sitting teaching, and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law 
also sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: 
and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a 
man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him 
before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because 
of the multitude, they went upon the house-top, and let him down through the tiling with 
his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, He said, Man, thy sins 
are forgiven thee;” and so forth. The question, therefore, remains one between Mark and 
Matthew, in so far as Matthew writes of the incident as taking place in the Lord’s city ; 914 
while Mark locates it in Capharnaum. This question would be more difficult to solve if 
Matthew mentioned Nazareth by name. But, as the case stands, when we reflect that the 
state of Galilee itself might have been called Christ’s city , 915 because Nazareth was in Galilee, 
just as the whole region which was made up of so many cities 916 is yet called a Roman 
state, when, further, it is considered that so many nations are comprehended in that city, 
of which it is written, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God;” and also that 
God’s ancient people, though dwelling in so many cities, have yet been spoken of as one 
house, the house of Israel, 919 — who can doubt that [it maybe fairly said that] Jesus wrought 
this work in His own city [or, state ] , inasmuch as He did it in the city of Capharnaum, which 
was a city of that Galilee to which He had returned when He crossed over again from the 
country of the Gerasenes, so that when He came into Galilee He might correctly be said to 
have come into His own city [or, state], in which ever town of Galilee He might happen to 
be? This explanation may be vindicated more particularly on the ground that Capharnaum 
itself held a position of such eminence in Galilee that it was reckoned to be a kind of metro- 
polis. But even were it altogether illegitimate to take the city of Christ in the sense either of 
Galilee itself, in which Nazareth was situated, or of Capharnaum, which was distinguished 
as in a certain sense the capital of Galilee, we might still affirm that Matthew has simply 


911 Mark ii. 1-12. 

912 Et ipse sedebat docens. 

913 Luke v. 17-26. 

914 Or, state — civitate. 

915 Or, state — civitas. 

916 Civitatibus. 

917 Civitas, city. 

918 Ps. lxxxvii. 3. 

919 Isa. v. 7; Jer. iii. 20; Ezek. iii. 4. 


289 


Of the Man Sick of the Palsy to Whom the Lord Said, ‘Thy Sins are Forgiven... 


passed over all that happened after Jesus came into His own city until He reached 
Capharnaum, and that he has simply tacked on the narrative of the healing of the paralytic 
at this point; just as the writers do in many instances, leaving unnoticed much that intervenes, 
and, without any express indication of the omissions they are making, proceeding precisely 
as if what they subjoin, followed actually in literal succession . 920 


920 [The true solution of the difficulty is simple. Our Lord had already left Nazareth and made Capernaum 
His headquarters (comp. Lukeiv. 30, 31). But Augustin identifies that incident with a subsequent visit to Nazareth 
(see ch. xlii.). — R.] 


290 


Of the Calling of Matthew, and of the Question Whether Matthew’s Own Account... 


Chapter XXVI. — Of the Calling of Matthew, and of the Question Whether Matthew’s 

Own Account is in Harmony with Those of Mark and Luke When They Speak 

of Levi the Son of Alphaeus. 

59. Matthew next continues his narrative in the following terms: — “And as Jesus passed 
forth from thence, He saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He 
saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him.” Mark gives this story also, 
and keeps the same order, bringing it in after the notice of the healing of the man who was 
sick of the palsy. His version runs thus: “And He went forth again by the sea-side; and all 
the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, He saw Levi 
the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he 
arose, and followed Him.” There is no contradiction here; for Matthew is the same person 

with Levi. Luke also introduces this after the story of the healing of the same man who was 
sick of the palsy. He writes in these terms: “And after these things He went forth, and saw 
a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow me. 
And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.” Now, from this it will appear to be the most 
reasonable explanation to say that Matthew records these things here in the form of things 
previously passed over, and now brought to mind. For certainly we must believe that Mat- 
thew’s calling took place before the delivery of the sermon on the mount. For Luke tells us 
that on this mountain on that occasion the election was made of all these twelve, whom Jesus 
also named apostles, out of the larger body of the disciples. 924 


921 Matt. ix. 9. 

922 Mark ii. 13, 14. 

923 Luke v. 27, 28. 

924 Luke vi. 13. [This fact shows that the order of Matthew is not chronological. Indeed, as Augustin goes 
on, he is led more and more to accept the order of the other evangelists. — R.] 


291 


Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate with Sinners,... 


Chapter XXVII. — Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate 
with Sinners, and that His Disciples Did Not Fast; Of the Circumstance that the 
Evangelists Seem to Give Different Accounts of the Parties by Whom These 
Objections Were Alleged; And of the Question Whether Matthew and Mark and 
Luke are Also in Harmony with Each Other in the Reports Given of the Words 


60. Matthew, accordingly, goes on to say: “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat in the 
house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples;” 
and so on, down to where we read, “But they put new wine into new bottles, and both are 
preserved.” Here Matthew has not told us particularly in whose house it was that Jesus 
was sitting at meat along with the publicans and sinners. This might make it appear as if he 
had not appended this notice in its strict order here, but had introduced at this point, in the 
way of reminiscence, something which actually took place on a different occasion, were it 
not that Mark and Luke, who repeat the account in terms thoroughly similar, have made it 
plain that it was in the house of Levi — that is to say, Matthew — that Jesus sat at meat, and 
all these sayings were uttered which follow. For Mark states the same fact, keeping also the 
same order, in the following manner: “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat in his house, 
many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus.” Accordingly, when he says, “in 
his house,” he certainly refers to the person of whom he was speaking directly before, and 
that was Levi. To the same effect, after the words, “He saith unto him, Follow me; and he 
left all, rose up, and followed Him,” Luke has appended immediately this statement: 
“And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of 
publicans and of others that sat down with them.” And thus it is manifest in whose house 
it was that these things took place. 

61. Let us next look into the words which these three evangelists have all brought in as 
having been addressed to the Lord, and also into the replies which were made by Him. 
Matthew says: “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth 
your Master with publicans and sinners?” This reappears very nearly in the same words 
in Mark: “How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?” 929 Only we 
find thus that Matthew has omitted one thing which Mark inserts — namely, the addition 
“and drinketh.” But of what consequence can that be, since the sense is fully given, the idea 


of These Persons, and of the Replies Returned by the Lord. 


925 Matt. ix. 10-17. 

926 Markii. 15. 

927 Luke v. 27-29. 

928 Matt. ix. 11. 
Mark ii. 16. 


929 


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Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate with Sinners,... 


suggested being that they were partaking of a repast in company? Luke, on the other hand, 
seems to have recorded this scene somewhat differently. For his version proceeds thus: “But 
their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink 
with publicans and sinners ?” 930 But his intention in this certainly is not 931 to indicate that 
their Master was not referred to on that occasion, but to intimate that the objection was 
levelled against all of them together, both Himself and His disciples; the charge, however, 
which was to be taken to be meant both of Him and of them, being addressed directly not 
to Him, but to them. For the fact is that Luke himself, no less than the others, represents 
the Lord as making the reply, and saying, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to 

non 

repentance.” And He would not have returned that answer to them, had not their words, 
“Why do ye eat and drink?” been directed very specially to Himself. For the same reason, 
Matthew and Mark have told us that the objection which was brought against Him was 
stated immediately to His disciples, because, when the allegation was addressed to the dis- 
ciples, the charge was thereby laid all the more seriously against the Master whom these 
disciples were imitating and following. One and the same sense, therefore, is conveyed; and 
it is expressed all the better in consequence of these variations employed in some of the 
terms, while the matter of fact itself is left intact. In like manner we may deal with the ac- 
counts of the Lord’s reply. Matthew’s runs thus: “They that be whole need not a physician, 
but they that are sick; but go ye and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not 
sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark and Luke have also 
preserved for us the same sense in almost the same words, with this exception, that they 
both fail to introduce that quotation from the prophet, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” 
Luke, again, after the words, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,” has added the 
term, “unto repentance.” This addition serves to bring out the sense more fully, so as to 
preclude any one from supposing that sinners are loved by Christ, purely for the very reason 
that they are sinners. For this similitude also of the sick indicates clearly what God means 
by the calling of sinners, — that it is like the physician with the sick, — and that its object 
verily is that men should be saved from their iniquity as from disease; which healing is effected 
by repentance. 


930 Luke v. 30. 

931 Non utique magistrum eorum nolens illic intelligi, with most mss. The reading volens occurs in some = 
not meaning their Master to be referred to, he intimates, etc. 

932 Luke v. 32. 

933 Omitting in pcenitentiam = unto repentance. [These words should be omitted in Matthew and Mark, 
according to the Greek mss. Revised Version. — R.] 


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Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate with Sinners,... 


62. In the same way, we may subject what is said about the disciples of John to examin- 
ation. Matthew’s words are these: “Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why 
do we and the Pharisees fast oft?” 934 The purport of Mark’s version is similar: “And the 

go r go/r 

disciples of John and the Pharisees used to fast. And they come and say unto Him, 

Why do the disciples of John and the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” The 
only semblance of a discrepancy that can be found here, is in the possibility of supposing 
that the mention of the Pharisees as having spoken along with the disciples of John is an 
addition of Mark’s, while Matthew states only that the disciples of John expressed themselves 
to the above effect. But the words which were actually uttered by the parties, according to 
Mark’s version, rather indicate that the speakers and the persons spoken of were not the 
same individuals. I mean, that the persons who came to Jesus were the guests who were then 
present, that they came because the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting, and 
that they uttered the above words with respect to these parties. In this way, the evangelist’s 
phrase, “they come,” would not refer to the persons regarding whom he had just thrown in 
the remark, “And the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting.” But the case would 
be, that as those parties were fasting, some others here, who are moved by that fact, come 
to Him, and put this question to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees 
fast, but thy disciples fast not?” This is more clearly expressed by Luke. For, evidently with 
the same idea in his mind, after stating what answer the Lord returned in the words in which 
He spoke about the calling of sinners under the similitude of those who are sick, he proceeds 
thus: “And they said unto Him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, 
and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees, but thine eat and drink?” 939 Here, then, we see 
that, as was the case with Mark, Luke has mentioned one party as speaking to this intent in 
relation to other parties. How comes it, therefore, that Matthew says, “Then came to Him 
the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast?” The explanation maybe, 
that those individuals were also present, and that all these various parties were eager to ad- 
vance this charge, as they severally found opportunity. And the sentiments which sought 
expression on this occasion have been conveyed by the three evangelists under varied terms, 
but yet without any divergence from a true statement of the fact itself. 


934 Matt. ix. 14. 

935 Phariscei, not Pharisceorum. [So the Greek text. — R.] 

936 Or, as Augustin’s reasoning implies that he understood it, were fasting — erant jejunantes. [So Revised 
Version. — R.] 

937 Pharisceorum. 

938 Mark ii. 18. 

939 Luke v. 33. 


294 


Of the Feast at Which It Was Objected at Once that Christ Ate with Sinners,... 


63. Once more, we find that Matthew and Mark have given similar accounts of what 
was said about the children of the bridegroom not fasting as long as the bridegroom is with 
them, with this exception, that Mark has named them the children of the bridals, 940 while 
Matthew has designated them the children of the bridegroom. 941 That, however, is a matter 
of no moment. For by the children of the bridals we understand at once those connected 
with the bridegroom, and those connected with the bride. The sense, therefore, is obvious 
and identical, and neither different nor contradictory. Luke, again, does not say, “Can the 
children of the bridegroom fast?” but, “Can ye make the children of the bridegroom fast, 
while the bridegroom is with them?” By expressing it in this method, the evangelist has el- 
egantly opened up the self-same sense in a way calculated to suggest something else. For 
thus the idea is conveyed, that those very persons who were speaking would try to make the 
children of the bridegroom mourn and fast, inasmuch as they would [seek to] put the 
bridegroom to death. Moreover, Matthew’s phrase, “mourn,” is of the same import as that 
used by Mark and Luke, namely, “fast.” For Matthew also says further on, “Then shall they 
fast,” and not, “Then shall they mourn.” But by the use of this phrase, he has indicated that 
the Lord spoke of that kind of fasting which pertains to the lowliness of tribulation. In the 
same way, too, the Lord maybe understood to have pictured out a different kind of fasting, 
which stands related to the rapture of a mind dwelling in the heights of things spiritual, and 
for that reason estranged in a certain measure from the meats that are for the body, when 
He made use of those subsequent similitudes touching the new cloth and the new wine, by 
which He showed that this kind of fasting is an incongruity for sensual 942 and carnal people, 
who are taken up with the cares of the body, and who consequently still remain in the old 
mind. These similitudes are also embodied in similar terms by the other two evangelists. 
And it should be sufficiently evident that there need be no real discrepancy, although one 
may introduce something, whether belonging to the subject-matter itself, or merely to the 
terms in which that subject is expressed, which another leaves out; provided only that there 
be neither any departure from a genuine identity in sense, nor any contradiction created 
between the different forms which may be adopted for expressing the same thing. 


940 Filios nuptiarum. 

941 Filios sponsi. 

942 Animalibus. 


295 



Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, and of the... 


Chapter XXVIII. — Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, 
and of the Woman Who Touched the Hem of His Garment; Of the Question, 
Also, as to Whether the Order in Which These Incidents are Narrated Exhibits 
Any Contradiction in Any of the Writers by Whom They are Reported; And in 
Particular, of the Words in Which the Ruler of the Synagogue Addressed His 
Request to the Lord. 

64. Still keeping by the order of time, Matthew next continues to the following effect: 
“While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped 
Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she 
shall live;” and so on, until we come to the words, “and the maid arose. And the fame hereof 
went abroad into all that land.” 943 The other two, namely, Mark and Luke, in like manner 
give this same account, only they do not keep by the same order now. F or they bring up this 
narrative in a different place, and insert it in another connection; to wit, at the point where 
He crosses the take and returns from the country of the Gerasenes, after casting out the 
devils and permitting them to go into the swine. Thus Mark introduces it, after he has related 
what took place among the Gerasenes, in the following manner: “And when Jesus was passed 
over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto Him: and He was nigh 
unto the sea. And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and 
when he saw Him, he fell at His feet,” etc. 944 By this, then, we are certainly to understand 
that the occurrence in connection with the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue did take 
place after Jesus had passed across the lake again in the ship. 945 It does not, however, appear 
from the words themselves how long after that passage this thing happened. But that some 
time did elapse is clear. For had there not been an interval, no period would be left within 
which those circumstances might fall which Matthew has just related in the matter of the 
feast in his house. These, indeed, he has told after the fashion of the evangelists, as if they 
were the story of another person’s doings. But they are the story really of what took place 
in his own case, and at his own house. And after that narrative, what follows in the immediate 
context is nothing else than this notice of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. For 
he has constructed the whole recital in such a manner, that the mode of transition from one 
thing to the other has itself indicated with sufficient clearness that the words immediately 
following give the narrative of what actually took place in immediate consecution. For after 
mentioning, in connection with the former incident, those words which Jesus spake with 


943 Matt. ix. 18-26. 

944 Markv. 21-43. 

945 [The events can be arranged in the order of Mark, with the exception of the passage, chap. ii. 15-22. This 
must be placed, as Augustin says, after the return from “the country of the Gerasenes.” Comp. § 89. — R.] 


296 


Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, and of the... 


respect to the new cloth and the new wine, he has subjoined these other words, without any 
interruption in the narrative, namely, “While He spake these things unto them, behold, 
there came a certain ruler.” And this shows that, if the person approached Him while He 
was speaking these things, nothing else either done or said by Him could have intervened. 
In Mark’s account, on the other hand, the place is quite apparent, as we have already pointed 
out, where other things [left unrecorded by him] might very well have come in. The case is 
much the same also with Luke, who, when he proceeds to follow up his version of the story 
of the miracle wrought among the Gerasenes, by giving his account of the daughter of the 
ruler of the synagogue, does not pass on to that in any such way as to place it in antagonism 
with Matthew’s version, who, by his words, “While He yet spake these things,” gives us 
plainly to understand that the occurrence took place after those parables about the cloth 
and the wine. For when he has concluded his statement of what happened among the 
Gerasenes, Luke passes to the next subject in the following manner; “And it came to pass 
that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him; for they were all waiting for 
Him. And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue, 
and he fell down at Jesus’ feet,” and so on. 946 Thus we are given to understand that the 
crowd did indeed receive Jesus forthwith on the said occasion: for He was the person for 
whose return they were waiting. But what is conveyed in the words which are directly added, 
“And, behold, there came a man whose name was Jairus,” is not to be taken to have occurred 
literally in immediate succession. On the contrary, the feast with the publicans, as Matthew 
records it, took place before that. For Matthew connects this present incident with that feast 
in such a way as to make it impossible for us to suppose that any other sequence of events 
can be the correct order. 947 

65. In this narrative, then, which we have undertaken to consider at present, all these 
three evangelists indeed are unquestionably at one in the account which they give of the 
woman who was afflicted with the issue of blood. Nor is it a matter of any real consequence, 
that something which is passed by in silence by one of them is related by another; or that 
Mark says, “Who touched my clothes?” while Luke says, “Who touched me?” For the one 
has only adopted the phrase in use and wont, whereas the other has given the stricter expres- 
sion. But for all that, both of them convey the same meaning. For it is more usual with us 
to say, “You are tearing me,” 948 than to say, “You are tearing my clothes;” as, notwithstanding 
the term, the sense we wish to convey is obvious enough. 


946 Luke viii. 40-56. 

947 [This is one of the rare cases where the order of Matthew is more exact than that of Mark and Luke. But 
the former evangelist has dislocated a long series of events in the same connection. See above. — R.] 

948 Conscindis. 


297 


Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, and of the... 


66. At the same time, however, there remains the fact that Matthew represents the ruler 
of the synagogue to have spoken to the Lord of his daughter, not merely as one likely to die, 
or as dying, or as on the very point of expiring, but as even then dead; while these other two 
evangelists report her as now nigh unto death, but not yet really dead, and keep so strictly 
to that version of the circumstances, that they tell us how the persons came at a later stage 
with the intelligence of her actual death, and with the message that for this reason the 
Master ought not now to trouble Himself by coming, with the purpose of laying His hand 
upon her, and so preventing her from dying, — the matter not being put as if He was one 
possessed of ability to raise the once dead to life. It becomes necessary for us, therefore, to 
investigate this fact lest it may seem to exhibit any contradiction between the accounts. And 
the way to explain it is to suppose that, by reason of brevity in the narrative, Matthew has 
preferred to express it as if the Lord had been really asked to do what it is clear He did actually 
do, namely, raise the dead to life. For what Matthew directs our attention to, is not the mere 
words spoken by the father about his daughter, but what is of more importance, his mind 
and purpose. Thus he has given words calculated to represent the father’s real thoughts. For 
he had so thoroughly despaired of his child’s case, that not believing that she whom he had 
just left dying, could possibly now be found yet in life, his thought rather was that she might 
be made alive again. Accordingly two of the evangelists have introduced the words which 
were literally spoken by Jairus. But Matthew has exhibited rather what the man secretly 
wished and thought. Thus both petitions were really addressed to the Lord; namely, either 
that He should restore the dying damsel, or that, if she was already dead, He might raise her 
to life again. But as it was Matthew’s object to tell the whole story in short compass, he has 
represented the father as directly expressing in his request what, it is certain, had been his 
own real wish, and what Christ actually did. It is true, indeed, that if those two evangelists, 
or one of them, had told us that the father himself spake the words which the parties who 
came from his house uttered, — namely, that Jesus should not now trouble Himself, because 
the damsel had died, — then the words which Matthew has put into his mouth would not be 
in harmony with his thoughts. But, as the case really stands, it is not said that he gave his 
consent to the parties who brought that report, and who bade the Master no more think of 
coming now. And together with this, we have to observe, that when the Lord addressed him 
in these terms, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole,” 949 He did not find 
fault with him on the ground of his want of belief, but really encouraged him to a yet stronger 
faith. For this ruler had faith like that which was exhibited by the person who said, “Lord, 
I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” 950 


949 Luke viii. 50. 

950 Mark ix. 24. 


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Of the Raising of the Daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue, and of the... 


67. Seeing, then, that the case stands thus, from these varied and yet not inconsistent 
modes of statement adopted by the evangelists, we evidently learn a lesson of the utmost 
utility, and of great necessity, — namely, that in any man’s words the thing which we ought 
narrowly to regard is only the writer’s thought which was meant to be expressed, and to 
which the words ought to be subservient; and further, that we should not suppose one to 
be giving an incorrect statement, if he happens to convey in different words what the person 
really meant whose words he fails to reproduce literally. And we ought not to let the wretched 
cavillers at words fancy that truth must be tied somehow or other to the jots and tittles of 
letters; whereas the fact is, that not in the matter of words only, but equally in all other 
methods by which sentiments are indicated, the sentiment itself, and nothing else, is what 
ought to be looked at. 

68. Moreover, as to the circumstance that some codices of Matthew’s Gospel contain 
the reading, “For the woman 951 is not dead, but sleepeth,” while Mark and Luke certify that 
she was a damsel of the age of twelve years, we may suppose that Matthew has followed the 
Hebrew mode of speech here. For in other passages of Scripture, as well as here, it is found 
that not only those who had already known a man, but all females in general, including 
untouched virgins, are called women. That is the case, for instance, where it is written 
of Eve, “He made it 953 into a woman;” 954 and again, in the book of Numbers, where the 
women 955 who have not known a man by lying with him, that is to say, the virgins, are 
ordered to be saved from being put to death. 956 Adopting the same phraseology, Paul, too, 
says of Christ Himself, that He was “made of a woman.” And it is better, therefore, to 
understand the matter according to these analogies, than to suppose that this damsel of 

qco 

twelve years of age was already married, or had known a man. 

136 


951 Mulier. 

952 Mulieres. 

953 Earn, her. 

954 Gen. ii. 22. 

955 Mulieres. 

956 Num. xxxi. 18. 

957 Gal. ii. 4. 

958 [The curious variation in text noted above was probably due to the scribe’s confounding the “damsel” 
with the “woman” who had just been spoken of. — R.] 


299 


Of the Two Blind Men and the Dumb Demoniac Whose Stories are Related Only... 


Chapter XXIX. — Of the Two Blind Men and the Dumb Demoniac Whose Stories 

are Related Only by Matthew. 

69. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus depar- 
ted thence, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy 
on us;” and so on, down to the verse where we read, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out 
devils through the prince of the devils.” 959 Matthew is the only one who introduces this 
account of the two blind men and the dumb demoniac. For those two blind men, whose 
story is given also by the others, 960 are not the two before us here. Nevertheless there is such 
similarity in the occurrences, that if Matthew himself had not recorded the latter incident 
as well as the former, it might have been thought that the one which he relates at present 
has also been given by these other two evangelists. There is this fact, therefore, which we 
ought to bear carefully in mind, — namely, that there are some occurrences which resemble 
each other. For we have a proof of this in the circumstance that the very same evangelist 
mentions both incidents here. And thus, if at anytime we find any such occurrences narrated 
individually by the several evangelists, and discover some contradiction in the accounts, 
which seems not to admit of being solved [on the principle of harmonizing] , it may occur 
to us that the explanation simply is, that this [apparently contradictory] circumstance did 
not take place [on that particular occasion], but that what did happen then was only some- 
thing resembling it, or something which was gone about in a similar manner. 


959 Matt. ix. 27-34. [The view of Augustin is that now generally accepted by harmonists. — R.] 

960 Mark x. 46-52; Luke xviii. 35-43. 


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Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


Chapter XXX. — Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Com- 
passion for the Multitudes, He Sent His Disciples, Giving Them Power to Work 
Cures, and Charged Them with Many Instructions, Directing Them How to 
Live; And of the Question Concerning the Proof of Matthew’s Harmony Here 
with Mark and Luke, Especially on the Subject of the Staff, Which Matthew Says 
the Lord Told Them They Were Not to Carry, While According to Mark It is 
the Only Thing They Were to Carry; And Also of the Wearing of the Shoes and 
Coats. 

70. As to the events next related, it is true that their exact order is not made apparent 
by Matthew’s narrative. For after the notices of the two incidents in connection with the 
blind men and the dumb demoniac, he continues in the following manner: “And Jesus went 
about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the kingdom 
of the gospel, 961 and healing every sickness and every disease. But when He saw the multi- 
tudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were troubled and prostrate, 
as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, 

Q Cl 

but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth 
labourers into His harvest. And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave 
them power against unclean spirits;” and so forth, down to the words, “Verily I say unto 
you, he shall not lose his reward.” 964 This whole passage which we have now mentioned 
shows how He gave many counsels to His disciples. But whether Matthew has subjoined 
this section in its historical order, or has made its order dependent only on the succession 
in which it came up to his own mind, as has already been said, is not made apparent. Mark 
appears to have handled this paragraph in a succinct method, and to have entered upon its 
recital in the following terms: “And He went round about the villages, teaching in their cir- 
cuit: 965 and He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them by two and two, and 
gave them power over unclean spirits;” and so on, down to where we read, “Shake off the 
dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” 966 But before narrating this incident, 
Mark has inserted, immediately after the story of the raising of the daughter of the ruler of 
the synagogue, an account of what took place on that occasion on which, in His own country, 
the people were astonished at the Lord, and asked from whence He had such wisdom and 


961 Regnum evangelii. 

962 Vexati etjacentes. 

963 The mss. read ejicias: some editions have mittat, send. 

964 Matt. ix. 35-x. 42. 

965 In circuitu docens. 

966 Mark vi. 6-11. 


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Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


g/r'7 

such capabilities, when they perceived His judgment: which account is given by Matthew 
after these counsels to the disciples, and after a number of other matters. It is uncertain, 

therefore, whether what thus happened in His own country has been recorded by Matthew 
in the succession in which it came to mind, after having been omitted at first, or whether it 
has been introduced by Mark in the way of an anticipation; and which of them, in short, 
has kept the order of actual occurrence, and which of them the order of his own recollection. 
Luke, again, in immediate succession to the mention of the raising of the daughter of Jairus 
to life, subjoins this paragraph, bearing on the power and the counsels given to the disciples, 
and that indeed with as great brevity as Mark. 969 This evangelist, however, does not, any 
more than the others, introduce the subject in such a way as to produce the impression that 
it comes in also in the strictly historical order. Moreover, with regard to the names of the 
disciples, Luke, who gives their names in another place, 970 — that is to say, in the earlier 
passage, where they are [represented as being] chosen on the mountain, — is not at variance 
in any respect with Matthew, with the exception of the single instance of the name of Judas 
the brother of James, whom Matthew designates Thaddaeus, although some codices also 
read Lebbaeus. But who would ever think of denying that one man may be known under 
two or three names? 

71. Another question which it is also usual to put is this: How comes it that Matthew 
and Luke have stated that the Lord said to His disciples that they were not to take a staff 
with them, whereas Mark puts the matter in this way: “And He commanded them that they 
should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only;” and proceeds further in this 
strain, “no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:” thereby making it quite evident that 
his narrative belongs to the same place and circumstances with which the narratives of those 
others deal who have mentioned that the staff was not to be taken? Now this question admits 
of being solved on the principle of understanding that the staff which, according to Mark, 
was to be taken, bears one sense, and that the staff which, according to Matthew and Luke, 
was not to be taken with them, is to be interpreted in a different sense; just in the same way 


967 Virtutes. 

968 Matt. xiii. 54. 

969 Luke ix. 1-6. 

970 The Ratisbon edition and nineteen mss. read alio nomine, by another name instead of alio loco. — Migne. 

971 In five mss. Lebdceum, Lebdeus, is given instead of Lebbeus, but wrongly, as appears from the Greek 
text of Matt. x. 3. — Migne. [The Vulgate (Matt x. 3) reads Thaddceus, now accepted by critical editors; so Revised 
Version. The Authorized Version follows a composite reading (with two early uncials and Syriac versions): 
“Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.” A harmonistic gloss — R.] 

972 Mark vi. 8. [In Matt. x. 10, Luke ix. 3, the later authorities substitute the plural “staves,” probably to avoid 
the seeming discrepancy. The better sustained reading in both passages is “staff.” — R.] 


302 


Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


as we find the term “temptation” used in one meaning, when it is said, “God tempteth no 
man,” and in a different meaning where it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth [proveth] 
you, to know whether ye love Him.” 9 ' 4 For in the former case the temptation of seduction 
is intended; but in the latter the temptation of probation. Another parallel occurs in the case 
of the term “judgment,” which must be taken in one way, where it is said, “They that have 
done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection 
of judgment;” and in another way, where it is said, “Judge me, O God, and discern 
my cause, in respect of an ungodly nation.” For the former refers to the judgment of 
damnation, and the latter to the judgment of discrimination. 

72. And there are many other words which do not retain one uniform signification, but 
are introduced so as to suit a variety of connections, and thus are understood in a variety 
of ways, and sometimes, indeed, are adopted along with an explanation. We have an example 
in the saying, “Be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye little children, 
that in understanding ye may be perfect.” 979 For here is a sentence which, in a brief and 
pregnant form, might have been expressed thus: “Be ye not children; howbeit be ye children.” 
The same is the case with the words, “If any man among you thinketh himself to be wise in 
this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.” 980 For what else is the statement 
there but this: “Let him not be wise, that he may be wise”? Moreover, the sentences are 
sometimes so put as to exercise the judgment of the inquirer. An instance of this kind occurs 
in what is said in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so ye will 
fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, 
he deceiveth himself. But it is meet that every man should prove his own work; and then 
shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own 

no 1 

burden.” Now, unless the word “burden” can be taken in different senses, without doubt 
one would suppose that the same writer contradicts himself in what he says here, and that, 
too, when the words are placed in such close neighbourhood in one paragraph. For when 


973 Jas. i. 13. 

974 Deut. xiii. 3. 

975 Judicii. John v. 29. 

976 Discerne. 

977 Ps. xliii. 1. 

978 Pueri. 

979 Parvuli estote ut sensibus perfecti sitis. 1 Cor. xiv. 20. 

980 1 Cor. iii. 18. 

981 Gal. vi. 2-5. 

982 [Augustin fails to notice that the word “burden” represents different Greek words in Gal. vi. 2-5. His 
argument here resembles the method of modern expositors who explain the discrepancies of the Authorized 
Version without consulting the original. — R.] 


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Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


he has just said, “One shall bear another’s burdens,” after the lapse of a very brief interval 

he says, “Every man shall bear his own burden.” But the one refers to the burdens which 

are to be borne in sharing in one’s infirmity, the other to the burdens borne in the rendering 

of an account of our own actions to God: the former are burdens to be borne in our [duties 

of] fellowship with brethren; the latter are those peculiar to ourselves, and borne by every 

man for himself. And in the same way, once more, the “rod” of which the apostle spoke in 
« >j983 

the words, ‘Shall I come unto you with a rod? is meant in a spiritual sense; while the 
same term bears the literal meaning when it occurs of the rod applied to a horse, or used 
for some other purpose of the kind, not to mention, in the meantime, also other metaphor- 
ical significations of this phrase. 

73. Both these counsels, therefore, must be accepted as having been spoken by the Lord 
to the apostles; namely, at once that they should not take a staff, and that they should take 
nothing save a staff only. For when He said to them, according to Matthew, “Provide neither 
gold nor silver, nor money in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, 
neither shoes, nor yet a staff,” He added immediately, “for the workman is worthy of his 
meat.” And by this He makes it sufficiently obvious why it is that He would have them 
provide and carry none of these things. He shows that His reason was, not that these things 
are not necessary for the sustenance of this life, but because He was sending them in such 
a manner as to declare plainly that these things were due to them by those very persons who 
were to hear believingly the gospel preached by them; just as wages are the soldier’s due, 
and as the fruit of the vine is the right of the planters, and the milk of the flock the right of 
the shepherds. For which reason Paul also speaks in this wise: “Who goeth a warfare any 
time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? who 
feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?” 984 For under these figures he was 
speaking of those things which are necessary to the preachers of the gospel. And so, a little 
further on, he says: “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall 
reap your carnal things? If others are partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? 

no tz 

Nevertheless we have not used this power.” This makes it apparent that by these instruc- 
tions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek their support in any other 
way than by depending on what was offered them by those to whom they preached the 
gospel (otherwise this very apostle acted contrary to this precept when he acquired a liveli- 
hood for himself by the labours of his own hands, because he would not be chargeable to 

nor 

any of them ), but that He gave them a power in the exercise of which they should know 


983 1 Cor. iv. 21. 

984 1 Cor. ix. 7. 

985 1 Cor. ix. 11, 12. 

1 Thess. ii. 9. 


986 


304 


Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


such things to be their due. Now, when any commandment is given by the Lord, there is 
the guilt of non-obedience if it is not observed; but when any power is given, any one is at 
liberty to abstain from its use, and, as it were, to recede from his right. Accordingly, when 
the Lord spake these things to the disciples, He did what that apostle expounds more clearly 

QO'7 

a little further on, when he says, “Do ye not know that they who minister in the temple 
live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 
Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 

non 

But I have used none of these things.” When he says, therefore, that the Lord ordained 
it thus, but that he did not use the ordinance, he certainly indicates that it was a power to 
use that was given him, and not a necessity of service that was imposed upon him. 

74. Accordingly, as our Lord ordained what the apostle declares Him to have or- 
dained, — namely, that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel, — He gave these 
counsels to the apostles in order that they might be without the care of providing 989 or of 
carrying with them things necessary for this life, whether great or the very smallest; con- 
sequently He introduced this term, “neither a staff,” with the view of showing that, on the 
part of those who were faithful to Him, all things were due to His ministers, who themselves, 
too, required nothing superfluous. And thus, when He added the words, “For the workman 
is worthy of his meat,” He indicated quite clearly, and made it thoroughly plain, how and 
for what reason it was that He spake all these things. It is this kind of power, therefore, that 
the Lord denoted under the term “staff,” when He said that they should “take nothing” for 
their journey, save a staff only. For the sentence might also have been briefly expressed in 
this way: “Take with you none of the necessaries of life, neither a staff, save a staff only.” So 
that the phrase “neither a staff’ may be taken to be equivalent to “not even the smallest 
things;” while the addition, “save a staff only,” may be understood to mean that, in virtue 
of that power which they received from the Lord, and which was signified by the name 
“staff [or, “rod”] , even those things which were not carried with them would not be wanting 
to them. Our Lord therefore used both phrases. But inasmuch as one and the same evangelist 
has not recorded them both, the writer who has told us that the rod, as introduced in the 
one sense, was to be taken, is supposed to be in antagonism to him who has told us that the 
rod, as occurring again in the other sense, was not to be taken. After this explanation of the 
matter, however, no such supposition ought to be entertained. 

75. In like manner, also, when Matthew tells us that the shoes were not to be carried 
with them on the journey, what is intended is the checking of that care which thinks that 
such things must be carried with them, because otherwise they might be unprovided. Thus, 


987 In templo operantur. 

988 1 Cor. ix. 13-15. 

989 [Ut securi non possiderent. — R.] 


305 


Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


too, the import of what is said regarding the two coats is, that none of them should think 
of taking with him another coat in addition to the one in which he was clad, as if he was 
afraid that he might come to be in want, while all the time the power (which was received 
from the Lord) made him sure of getting what was needful. To the same effect, when Mark 
says that they were to be shod with sandals or soles, he gives us to understand that this 
matter of the shoe has some sort of mystical significance, the point being that the foot is to 
be neither covered, nor yet left bare to the ground; by which the idea may be conveyed that 
the gospel was neither to be concealed, nor yet made to depend on the good things of earth. 
And as to the fact that what is forbidden is neither the carrying nor the possessing of two 
coats, but more distinctly the putting of them on, — the words being, “and not put on two 
coats,” — what counsel is conveyed to them therein but this, that they ought to walk not in 
duplicity, but in simplicity? 

76. Thus it is not by any means to be made a matter of doubt that the Lord Himself 
spake all these words, some of them with a literal import, and others of them with a figurative, 
although the evangelists may have introduced them only in part into their writings, — one 
inserting one section, and another giving a different portion. Certain passages, at the same 
time, have been recorded in identical terms either by some two of them, or by some three, 
or even by all the four together. And yet not even when this is the case can we take it for 
granted that everything has been committed to writing which was either uttered or done 
by Him. Moreover, if any one fancies that the Lord could not in the course of the same dis- 
course have used some expressions with a figurative application and others with a literal, 
let him but examine His other addresses, and he will see how rash and inconsiderate such 
a notion is. For, then (to mention but a single instance which occurs meantime to my mind), 
when Christ gives the counsel not to let the left hand know what the right hand doeth, 990 
he may suppose himself under the necessity of accepting in the same figurative sense at once 
the almsgivings themselves referred to, and the other instructions offered on that occasion. 

77. In good truth, I must repeat here once more an admonition which it behoves the 
reader to keep in mind, so as not to be requiring that kind of advice so very frequently, 
namely, that in various passages of His discourses, the Lord has reiterated much which He 
had uttered already on other occasions. It is needful, indeed, to call this fact to mind, lest, 
when it happens that the order of such passages does not appear to fit in with the narrative 
of another of the evangelists, the reader should fancy that this establishes some contradiction 
between them; whereas he ought really to understand it to be due to the fact that something 
is repeated a second time in that connection which had been already expressed elsewhere. 
And this is a remark that should be held applicable not only to His words, but also to His 
deeds. For there is nothing to hinder us from believing that the same thing may have taken 


990 Matt. vi. 3. 


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Of the Section Where It is Recorded, that Being Moved with Compassion for... 


place more than once. But for a man to impeach the gospel simply because he does not believe 
in the repeated occurrence of some incident, which no one [at least] can prove to be an 
impossible event, betrays mere sacrilegious vanity. 


307 



Of the Account Given by Matthew and Luke of the Occasion When John the Baptist... 


Chapter XXXI. — Of the Account Given by Matthew and Luke of the Occasion When 
John the Baptist Was in Prison, and Despatched His Disciples on a Mission to 
the Lord. 

78. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And it came to pass, 
when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to 
teach and to preach in their cities. Now, when John had heard in the prison the works of 
Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or 
do we look for another?” and so on, until we come to the words, “And Wisdom is justified 
of her children.” 991 This whole section relating to John the Baptist, touching the message 
which he sent to Jesus, and the tenor of the reply which those whom he despatched received, 
and the terms in which the Lord spoke of John after the departure of these persons, is intro- 
duced also by Luke. 992 The order, however, is not the same. But it is not made clear which 
of them gives the order of his own recollections, and which keeps by the historical succession 
of the things themselves. 993 


991 Matt. xi. 1-19. 

992 Luke vii. 18-35. 

993 [The order of Luke seems to be more exact. Matt, xii., xiii, must be distributed through an earlier part 
of the history. — R.] 


308 


Of the Occasion on Which He Upbraided the Cities Because They Repented Not,... 


Chapter XXXII. — Of the Occasion on Which He Upbraided the Cities Because They 
Repented Not, Which Incident is Recorded by Luke as Well as by Matthew; And 
of the Question Regarding Matthew’s Harmony with Luke in the Matter of the 
Order. 

79. Thereafter Matthew goes on as follows: “Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein 
most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not;” and so on, down to where 
we read, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom at the day of judgment, than for 
you.” 994 This section likewise is given by Luke, who reports it also as an utterence from the 
lips of the Lord in connection with a certain continuous discourse which He delivered. This 
circumstance makes it the rather appear that Luke has recorded these words in the strict 
consecution in which they were spoken by the Lord, while Matthew has kept by the order 
of his own recollections. Or if it is supposed that Matthew’s words, “Then began He to up- 
braid the cities,” must be taken in such a way as to imply that the intention was to express, 
by the term “then,” the precise point of time at which the saying was uttered, and not to 
signify in a somewhat broader way the period at which many of these things were done and 
spoken, then Isay that any one entertaining that idea may equally well believe these sentences 
to have been pronounced on two different occasions. For if it is the fact that even in one 
and the same evangelist some things are found which the Lord utters twice over, as is the 
case with this very Luke in the instance of the counsel not to take a scrip for the journey, 
and so with other things in like manner which we find to have been spoken by the Lord in 
two different places, 995 — why should it seem strange if some other word of the Lord, which 
was originally uttered on two separate occasions, may happen also to be recorded by two 
several evangelists, each of whom gives it in the order in which it was actually spoken, and 
if thus the order seems to be different in the two, simply because the sentences were uttered 
both on the occasion noticed by the one, and on that referred to by the other? 


994 Matt. xi. 20-24. 

995 Luke ix. 3, x. 4. [The view of Augustin is now generally accepted. The occasions when the sayings were 
uttered are distinguished in the accounts of Matthew and Luke — R.] 


309 


Of the Occasion on Which He Calls Them to Take His Yoke and Burden Upon... 


Chapter XXXIII. — Of the Occasion on Which He Calls Them to Take His Yoke and 

Burden Upon Them, and of the Question as to the Absence of Any Discrepancy 

Between Matthew and Luke in the Order of Narration. 

80. Matthew proceeds thus: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I make my acknow- 
ledgment to Thee, 996 O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent,” and so on, down to where we read, “For my yoke is easy, and 
my burden is light.” 997 This passage is also noticed by Luke, but only in part. For he does 
not give us the words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour,” and the rest. It is, however, quite 
legitimate to suppose that all this may have been said on one occasion by the Lord, and yet 
that Luke has not recorded the whole of what was said on that occasion. For Matthew’s 
phrase is, that “at that time Jesus answered and said;” by which is meant the time after His 
upbraiding of the cities. Luke, on the other hand, interposes some matters, although they 
are not many, after that upbraiding of the cities; and then he subjoins this sentence: “In that 
hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, 998 and said.” 999 Thus, too, we see that even if Matthew’s 
expression had been, not “at that time,” but “in that very hour,” still what Luke inserts in 
the interval is so little that it would not appear an unreasonable thing to give it as all spoken 
in the same hour. 


996 Confiteor tibi. [Comp. Revised Version. — R.] 

997 Matt. xi. 25-30. 

998 Spiritu sancto. 

Luke x. 21. 


999 


310 


Of the Passage in Which It is Said that the Disciples Plucked the Ears of... 


Chapter XXXIV. — Of the Passage in Which It is Said that the Disciples Plucked the 
Ears of Corn and Ate Them; And of the Question as to How Matthew, Mark, 
and Luke are in Harmony with Each Other with Respect to the Order of Narration 
There. 

81. Matthew continues his history in the following terms: “At that time Jesus went on 
the Sabbath-day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck 
the ears of corn, and to eat;” and so forth, on to the words, “For the Son of man is Lord even 
of the Sabbath-day.” 1000 This is also given both by Mark and by Luke, in a way precluding 
any idea of antagonism. 1001 At the same time, these latter do not employ the definition “at 
that time.” That fact, consequently, may perhaps make it the more probable that Matthew 
has retained the order of actual occurrence here, and that the others have kept by the order 
of their own recollections; unless, indeed, this phrase “at that time” is to be taken in a 
broader sense, that is to say, as indicating the period at which these many and various incid- 
ents took place. 1002 


1000 Matt. xii. 1-8. 

1001 Mark ii. 23-28; Luke vi. 1-5. 

1002 [Clearly the Sabbath controversies must be placed before the Sermon on the Mount, as indicated by 
the order of Mark and Luke. — R.] 


311 


Of the Man with the Withered Hand, Who Was Restored on the Sabbath-Day ; ... 


Chapter XXXV. — Of the Man with the Withered Hand, Who Was Restored on the 
Sabbath-Day; And of the Question as to How Matthew’s Narrative of This Incid- 
ent Can Be Harmonized with Those of Mark and Luke, Either in the Matter of 
the Order of Events, or in the Report of the Words Spoken by the Lord and by 
the Jews. 

82. Matthew continues his account thus: “And when He was departed thence, He went 
into their synagogue: and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered;” and so 
on, down to the words, “And it was restored whole, like as the other.” 1003 The restoring of 
this man who had the withered hand is also not passed over in silence by Mark and Luke. 1004 
Now, the circumstance that this day is also designated a Sabbath might possibly lead us to 
suppose that both the plucking of the ears of corn and the healing of this man took place 
on the same day, were it not that Luke has made it plain that it was on a different Sabbath 
that the cure of the withered hand was wrought. Accordingly, when Matthew says, “And 
when He was departed thence, He came into their synagogue,” the words do indeed import 
that the said coming did not take place until after He had departed from the previously 
mentioned locality; but, at the same time, they leave the question undecided as to the 
number of days which may have elapsed between His passing from the aforesaid corn-field 
and His coming into their synagogue; and they express nothing as to His going there in 
direct and immediate succession. And thus space is offered us for getting in the narrative 
of Luke, who tells us that it was on another Sabbath that this man’s hand was restored. But 
it is possible that a difficulty may be felt in the circumstance that Matthew has told us how 
the people put this question to the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” wishing 
thereby to find an occasion for accusing Him; and that in reply He set before them the parable 
of the sheep in these terms: “What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep, 
and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How 
much, then, is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath- 
days;” 1005 whereas Mark and Luke rather represent the people to have had this question 
put to them by the Lord, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day, or to do evil? to save 
life, or to kill?” 1006 We solve this difficulty, however, by the supposition that the people in 
the first instance asked the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” that thereupon, 
knowing the thoughts of the men who were thus seeking an occasion for accusing Him, He 
set the man whom He had been on the point of healing in their midst, and addressed to 


1003 Matt. xii. 9-13. 

1004 Mark iii. 1-5; Luke vi. 6-10. 

1005 Matt. xii. 10-12. 

1006 Mark iii. 4; Luke vi. 9. 

312 


Of the Man with the Withered Hand, Who Was Restored on the Sabbath-Day; ... 


them the interrogations which Mark and Luke mention to have been put; that, as they re- 
mained silent, He next put before them the parable of the sheep, and drew the conclusion 
that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day; and that, finally, when He had looked 
round about on them with anger, as Mark tells us, being grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.” 


313 



Of Another Question Which Demands Our Consideration, Namely, Whether, in... 


Chapter XXXVI. — Of Another Question Which Demands Our Consideration, 
Namely, Whether, in Passing from the Account of the Man Whose Withered 
Hand Was Restored, These Three Evangelists Proceed to Their Next Subjects in 
Such a Way as to Create No Contradictions in Regard to the Order of Their 
Narrations. 

83. Matthew continues his narrative, connecting it in the following manner with what 
precedes: “But the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him, how they might destroy 
Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes fol- 
lowed Him, and He healed them all; and charged them that they should not make Him 
known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Esaias, saying;” and so 
forth, down to where it is said, “And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.” 1007 He is the only 
one that records these facts. The other two have advanced to other themes. Mark, it is true, 
seems to some extent to have kept by the historical order: for he tells us how Jesus, on dis- 
covering the malignant disposition which was entertained toward Him by the Jews, withdrew 
to the sea along with His disciples, and that then vast multitudes flocked to Him, and He 
healed great numbers of them. 1008 But, at the same time, it is not quite clear at what precise 
point He begins to pass to a new subject, different from what would have followed in strict 
succession. He leaves it uncertain whether such a transition is made at the point where he 
tells us how the multitudes gathered about Him (for if that was the case now, it might equally 
well have been the case at some other time), or at the point where He says that “He goeth 
up into a mountain.” It is this latter circumstance that Luke also appears to notice when he 
says, “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray.” 1009 For 
by the expression “in those days,” he makes it plain enough that the incident referred to did 
not occur in immediate succession upon what precedes. 1010 


1007 Matt. xii. 14-21. [ Sperabunt , “hope,” as in Revised Version. — R.] 

1008 Mark iii. 7-12. 

1009 Lukevi. 12. 

[The Sermon on the Mount was delivered during the withdrawal here referred to. — R.] 


1010 


314 


Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew and Luke Regarding the... 


Chapter XXXVII. — Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew and Luke 

Regarding the Dumb and Blind Man Who Was Possessed with a Devil. 

84. Matthew then goes on with his recital in the following fashion: “Then was brought 
unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb; and He healed him, insomuch that 
he both spake and saw.” 1011 Luke introduces this narrative, not in the same order, but after 
a number of other matters. He also speaks of the man only as dumb, and not as blind in 
addition. 1012 But it is not to be inferred, from the mere circumstance of his silence as to 
some portion or other of the account, that he speaks of an entirely different person. For he 
has likewise recorded what followed [immediately after that cure] , as it stands also in Mat- 
thew. 


1011 Matt. xii. 22. 

1012 Lukexi. 14. 


315 


Of the Occasion on Which It Was Said to Him that He Cast Out Devils in the... 


Chapter XXXVIII. — Of the Occasion on Which It Was Said to Him that He Cast 
Out Devils in the Power of Beelzebub, and of the Declarations Drawn Forth from 
Him by that Circumstance in Regard to the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, 
and with Respect to the Two Trees; And of the Question Whether There is Not 
Some Discrepancy in These Sections Between Matthew and the Other Two 
Evangelists, and Particularly Between Matthew and Luke. 

85. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And all the people 
were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they 
said, This fellow doth not cast out devils but in Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And lesus 
knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be 
brought to desolation;” and so on, down to the words, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, 
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” 1013 Mark does not bring in this allegation 
against Jesus, that He cast out devils in [the power of] Beelzebub, in immediate sequence 
on the story of the dumb man; but after certain other matters, recorded by himself alone, 
he introduces this incident also, either because he recalled it to mind in a different connection, 
and so appended it there, or because he had at first made certain omissions in his history, 
and after noticing these, took up this order of narration again. 1014 On the other hand, Luke 
gives an account of these things almost in the same language as Matthew has employed. 1015 
And the circumstance that Luke here designates the Spirit of God as the finger of God, does 
not betray any departure from a genuine identity in sense; but it rather teaches us an addi- 
tional lesson, giving us to know in what manner we are to interpret the phrase “the finger 
of God” wherever it occurs in the Scriptures. Moreover, with regard to other matters which 
are left unmentioned in this section both by Mark and by Luke, no difficulty can be raised 
by these. Neither can that be the case with some other circumstances which are related by 
them in somewhat different terms, for the sense still remains the same. 


1013 Matt. xii. 23-37. 

1014 Mark iii. 22-30. 

1015 Luke xi. 14-26. 


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Chapter XXXIX. — Of the Question as to the Manner of Matthew’s Agreement with 
Luke in the Accounts Which are Given of the Lord’s Reply to Certain Persons 
Who Sought a Sign, When He Spoke of Jonas the Prophet, and of the Ninevites, 
and of the Queen of the South, and of the Unclean Spirit Which, When It Has 
Gone Out of the Man, Returns and Finds the House Garnished. 

86. Matthew goes on and relates what followed thus: “Then certain of the scribes and 
of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee;” and so on, down to 
where we read, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” 1016 These words are 
recorded also by Luke in this connection, although in a somewhat different order. 1017 For 
he has mentioned the fact that they sought of the Lord a sign from heaven at an earlier point 
in his narrative, which makes it follow immediately on his version of the miracle wrought 
on the dumb man. He has not, however, recorded there the reply which was given to them 
by the Lord. But further on, after [telling us how] the people were gathered together, he 
states that this answer was returned to the persons who, as he gives us to understand, were 
mentioned by him in those earlier verses as seeking of Him a sign from heaven. And that 
reply he also subjoins, only after introducing the passage regarding the woman who said to 
the Lord, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee.” 1018 This notice of the woman, moreover, 
he inserts after relating the Lord’s discourse concerning the unclean spirit that goes out of 
the man, and then returns and finds the house garnished. In this way, then, after the notice 
of the woman, and after his statement of the reply which was made to the multitudes on the 
subject of the sign which they sought from heaven, he brings in the similitude of the 
prophet Jonas; and then, directly continuing the Lord’s discourse, he next instances what 
was said concerning the Queen of the South and the Ninevites. Thus he has rather related 
something which Matthew has passed over in silence, than omitted any of the facts which 
that evangelist has narrated in this place. And furthermore, who can fail to perceive that the 
question as to the precise order in which these words were uttered by the Lord is a superfluous 
one? For this lesson also we ought to learn, on the unimpeachable authority of the evangel- 
ists, — namely, that no offence against truth need be supposed on the part of a writer, although 
he may not reproduce the discourse of some speaker in the precise order in which the person 
from whose lips it proceeded might have given it; the fact being, that the mere item of the 
order, whether it be this or that, does not affect the subject-matter itself. And by his present 
version Luke indicates that this discourse of the Lord was of greater length than we might 
otherwise have supposed; and he records certain topics handled in it, which resemble those 


1016 Matt. xii. 38. 

1017 Luke xi. 16-37. 

1018 Luke xi. 27. 


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Of the Question as to the Manner of Matthew’s Agreement with Luke in the... 


which are mentioned by Matthew in his recital of the sermon which was delivered on the 
mount . 1019 So that we take these words to have been spoken twice over, to wit, on that 
previous occasion, and again on this one. But on the conclusion of this discourse Luke 
proceeds to another subject, as to which it is uncertain whether, in the account which he 
gives of it, he has kept by the order of actual occurrence. For he connects it in this way: “And 
as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him .” 1020 He does not say, 
however, “as He spake these words,” but only “as He spake.” For if he had said, “as He spake 
these words,” the expression would of course have compelled us to suppose that the incidents 
referred to, besides being recorded by him in this order, also took place on the Lord’s part 
in that same order. 


1019 Matt, v.-vii. 

1020 Luke xi. 37. 


318 


Of the Question as to Whether There is Any Discrepancy Between Matthew on... 


Chapter XL. — Of the Question as to Whether There is Any Discrepancy Between 

Matthew on the One Hand, and Mark and Luke on the Other, in Regard to the 

Order in Which the Notice is Given of the Occasion on Which His Mother and 

His Brethren Were Announced to Him. 

87. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “While He yet 
talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak 
to Him;” and so on, down to the words, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which 
is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” 1021 Without doubt, we ought 
to understand this to have occurred in immediate sequence on the preceding incidents. For 
he has prefaced his transition to this narrative by the words, “While He yet talked to the 
people;” and what does this term “yet” refer to, but to the very matter of which He was 
speaking on that occasion? For the expression is not, “When He talked to the people, Behold, 
His mother and His brethren;” but, “While He was yet speaking,” etc. And that phraseology 
compels us to suppose that it was at the very time when He was still engaged in speaking of 
those things which were mentioned immediately above. For Mark has also related what our 
Lord said after His declaration on the subject of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He 
gives it thus: And there came His mother and His brethren,” omitting certain matters 
which meet us in the context connected with that discourse of the Lord, and which Matthew 
has introduced there with greater fulness than Mark, and Luke, again, with greater fulness 
than Matthew. On the other hand, Luke has not kept the historical order in the report which 
he offers of this incident, but has given it by anticipation, and has narrated it as he recalled 
it to memory, at a point antecedent to the date of its literal occurrence. But furthermore, he 
has brought it in in such a manner that it appears dissociated from any close connection 
either with what precedes it or with what follows it. For, after reporting certain of the Lord’s 
parables, he has introduced his notice of what took place with His mother and His brethren 
in the following manner: “Then came to Him His mother and His brethren, and could not 
come at Him for the press.” Thus he has not explained at what precise time it was that 
they came to Him. And again, when he passes off from this subject, he proceeds in these 
terms: “Now it came to pass on one of the days, that He went into a ship with His dis- 
ciples.” 1024 And certainly, when he employs this expression, “it came to pass on one of the 
days,” he indicates clearly enough that we are under no necessity of supposing that the day 
meant was the very day on which this incident took place, or the one following in immediate 


1021 Matt. xii. 46-50. 

1022 Mark iii. 31-35. 

1023 Lukeviii. 19. 
Luke viii. 22. 


1024 


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Of the Question as to Whether There is Any Discrepancy Between Matthew on... 


succession. Consequently, neither in the matter of the Lord’s words, nor in that of the his- 
torical order of the occurrences related, does Matthew’s account of the incident which oc- 
curred in connection with the mother and the brethren of the Lord, exhibit any want of 
harmony with the versions given of the same by the other two evangelists. 


320 



Of the Words Which Were Spoken Out of the Ship on the Subject of the Sower,... 


Chapter XLI. — Of the Words Which Were Spoken Out of the Ship on the Subject 
of the Sower, Whose Seed, as He Sowed It, Fell Partly on the Wayside, Etc.; And 
Concerning the Man Who Had Tares Sowed Over and Above His Wheat; And 
Concerning the Grain of Mustard Seed and the Leaven; As Also of What He Said 
in the House Regarding the Treasure Hid in the Field, and the Pearl, and the Net 
Cast into the Sea, and the Man that Brings Out of His Treasure Things New and 
Old; And of the Method in Which Matthew’s Harmony with Mark and Luke is 
Proved Both with Respect to the Things Which They Have Reported in Common 
with Him, and in the Matter of the Order of Narration. 

88. Matthew continues thus: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the 
seaside: and great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship 
and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them 
in parables, saying;” and so on, down to the words, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed 
in the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth 
out of his treasure things new and old.” 1025 That the things narrated in this passage took 
place immediately after the incident touching the mother and the brethren of the Lord, and 
that Matthew has also retained that historical order in his version of these events, is indicated 
by the circumstance that, in passing from the one subject to the other, he has expressed the 
connection by this mode of speech: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the 
sea-side; and great multitudes were gathered together unto Him.” For by adopting this 
phrase, “in that day” (unless perchance the word “day,” in accordance with a use and wont 
of the Scriptures, may signify simply “time”), he intimates clearly enough either that the 
thing now related took place in immediate succession on what precedes, or that much at 
least could not have intervened. This inference is confirmed by the fact that Mark keeps by 
the same order. 1026 Luke, on the other hand, after his account of what happened with the 
mother and the brethren of the Lord, passes to a different subject. But at the same time, in 
making that transition, he does not institute any such connection as bears the appearance 
of a want of consistency with this order. Consequently, in all those passages in which 
Mark and Luke have reported in common with Matthew the words which were spoken by 
the Lord, there is no questioning their harmony with one another. Moreover, the sections 
which are given by Matthew only are even much more beyond the range of controversy. 
And in the matter of the order of narration, although it is presented somewhat differently 
by the various evangelists, according as they have proceeded severally along the line of his- 


1025 Matt. xiii. 1-52. 

1026 Mark iv. 1-34. 

1027 Lukeviii. 22. 


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Of the Words Which Were Spoken Out of the Ship on the Subject of the Sower,... 


torical succession, or along that of the succession of recollection, I see as little reason for 

1 H9R 

alleging any discrepancy of statement or any contradiction between any of the writers. 


1028 [The discourse in parables must be placed before the voyage to the country of the Gadarenes; comp. 
Mark iv. 36, and Augustin remark in § 89. — R.] 


322 


Of His Coming into His Own Country, and of the Astonishment of the People... 


Chapter XLII. — Of His Coming into His Own Country, and of the Astonishment 
of the People at His Doctrine, as They Looked with Contempt Upon His Lineage; 
Of Matthew’s Harmony with Mark and Luke in This Section; And in Particular, 
of the Question Whether the Order of Narration Which is Presented by the First 
of These Evangelists Does Not Exhibit Some Want of Consistency with that of 
the Other Two. 

89. Matthew thence proceeds as follows: “And it came to pass that, when Jesus had fin- 

ished these parables, He departed thence: and when He was come into His own country, 
He taught them in their synagogues;” 1029 and so on, down to the words, “And He did not 
many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” 1030 Thus he passes from the above 
discourse containing the parables, on to this passage, in such a way as not to make it abso- 
lutely necessary for us to take the one to have followed in immediate historical succession 
upon the other. All the more may we suppose this to be the case, when we see how Mark 
passes on from these parables to a subject which is not identical with Matthew’s directly 
succeeding theme, but quite different from that, and agreeing rather with what Luke intro- 
duces; and how he has constructed his narrative in such a manner as to make the balance 
of credibility rest on the side of the supposition, that what followed in immediate historical 
sequence was rather the occurrences which these two latter evangelists both insert in near 
connection [with the parables], — namely, the incidents of the ship in which Jesus was asleep, 
and the miracle performed in the expulsion of the devils in the country of the 
Gerasenes, 1031 — two events which Matthew has already recalled and introduced at an 
earlier stage of his record. At present, therefore, we have to consider whether [Matthew’s 

report of] what the Lord spoke, and what was said to Him in His own country, is in concord 
with the accounts given by the other two, namely, Mark and Luke. For, in widely different 
and dissimilar sections of his history, John mentions words, either spoken to the Lord or 
spoken by Him, which resemble those recorded in this passage by the other three 
evangelists. 

90. Now Mark, indeed, gives this passage in terms almost precisely identical with those 
which meet us in Matthew; with the one exception, that what he says the Lord was called 
by His fellow-townsmen is, “the carpenter, and the son of Mary,” 1034 and not, as Matthew 


1029 Three mss., however, give in synagoga eorum — in their synagogue — as in our version. 

1030 Matt. xiii. 53-58. 

1031 Mark iv. 35, v. 17; Luke viii. 22-37. [On the variations in the name, see critical editions of Greek text. 
Comp. Revised Version. The Latin versions generally read “Gerasenes” in all three accounts. — R.] 

1032 Matt. viii. 23-34. 

1033 John vi. 42. 

1034 Markvi. 1-6. 


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Of His Coming into His Own Country, and of the Astonishment of the People... 


tells us, the “carpenter’s son.” Neither is there anything to marvel at in this, since He might 
quite fairly have have been designated by both these names. For in taking Him to be the son 
of a carpenter, they naturally also took Him to be a carpenter. Luke, on the other hand, sets 
forth the same incident on a wider scale, and records a variety of other matters which took 
place in that connection. And this account he brings in at a point not long subsequent to 
His baptism and temptation, thus unquestionably introducing by anticipation what really 
happened only after the occurrence of a number of intervening circumstances. In this, 
therefore, every one may see an illustration of a principle of prime consequence in relation 
to this most weighty question concerning the harmony of the evangelists, which we have 
undertaken to solve by the help of God, — the principle, namely, that it is not by mere ignor- 
ance that these writers have been led to make certain omissions, and that it is as little through 
simple ignorance of the actual historical order of events that they have [at times] preferred 
to keep by the order in which these events were recalled to their own memory. The correct- 
ness of this principle may be gathered most clearly from the fact that, at a point antecedent 
to any account given by him of anything done by the Lord at Capharnaum, Luke has anti- 
cipated the literal date, and has inserted this passage which we have at present under consid- 
eration, and in which we are told how His fellow-citizens at once were astonished at the 
might of the authority which was in Him, and expressed their contempt for the meanness 
of His family. For he tells us that He addressed them in these terms: “Ye will surely say unto 
me, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here 
in thy country ;” 1035 while, so far as the narrative of this same Luke is concerned, we have 
not yet read of Him as having done anything at Capharnaum. Furthermore, as it will not 
take up much time, and as, besides, it is both a very simple and a highly needful matter to 
do so, we insert here the whole context, showing the subject from which and the method 
in which the writer has come to give the contents of this section. After his statement regarding 
the Lord’s baptism and temptation, he proceeds in these terms: “And when the devil had 
ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season. And Jesus returned in the 
power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region 
round about. And He taught in their synagogues, and was magnified of all. And He came 
to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as his custom was, He went into the syn- 
agogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him 
the book of the prophet Esaias: and when He had opened the book, He found the place 
where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me. He 
hath sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and 
sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the accepted year of 
the Lord, and the day of retribution. And when He had closed the book, He gave it again to 


1035 Luke iv. 23. 


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Of His Coming into His Own Country, and of the Astonishment of the People... 


the minister, and sat down: and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened 
on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 
And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His 
mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And He said unto them, Ye will surely say 
unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, 
do also here in thy country .” 1036 And so he continues with the rest, until this entire section 
in his narrative is gone over. What, therefore, can be more manifest, than that he has 
knowingly introduced this notice at a point antecedent to its historical date, seeing it admits 
of no question that he knows and refers to certain mighty deeds done by Him before this 
period in Capharnaum, which, at the same time, he is aware he has not as yet narrated in 
detail? For certainly he has not made such an advance with his history from his notice of 
the Lord’s baptism, as that he should be supposed to have forgotten the fact that up to this 
point he has not mentioned any of the things which took place in Capharnaum; the truth 
being, that he has just begun here, after the baptism, to give us his narrative concerning the 

1 037 

Lord personally. 


1036 Luke iv. 13-23. 

1037 [The question of the identity of the visits to Nazareth is still an open one. But there are some points ig- 
nored by Augustin which indicate that Luke refers to an earlier visit. — R.] 


325 


Of the Mutual Consistency of the Accounts Which are Given by Matthew, Mark,... 


Chapter XLIII. — Of the Mutual Consistency of the Accounts Which are Given by 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke of What Was Said by Herod on Hearing About the 

Wonderful Works of the Lord, and of Their Concord in Regard to the Order of 

Narration. 

91. Matthew continues: “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and 
said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; and therefore 
mighty works do show forth themselves in him.” Mark gives the same passage, and in 
the same manner, but not in the same order. 1039 For, after relating how the Lord sent forth 
the disciples with the charge to take nothing with them on the journey save a staff only, and 
after bringing to its close so much of the discourse which was then delivered as has been 
recorded by him, he has subjoined this section. He does not, however, connect it in such a 
way as to compel us to suppose that what it narrates took place actually in immediate se- 
quence on what precedes it in the history. And in this, indeed, Matthew is at one with him. 
For Matthew’s expression is, “at that time,” not “on that day,” or “at that hour.” Only there 
is this difference between them, that Mark refers not to Herod himself as the utterer of the 
words in question, but to the people, his statement being this: “They said 1040 that John the 
Baptist was risen from the dead;” whereas Matthew makes Herod himself the speaker, the 
phrase being: “He said unto his servants.” Luke, again, keeping the same order of narration 
as Mark, and introducing it also indeed, like Mark, in no such way as to compel us to suppose 
that his order must have been the order of actual occurrence, presents his version of the 
same passage in the following terms: “Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him: 
and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 
and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen 
again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear such things? 
And he desired to see Him.” 1041 In these words Luke also attests Mark’s statement, at least, 
so far as concerns the affirmation that it was not Herod himself, but other parties, who said 
that John was risen from the dead. But as regards his mentioning how Herod was perplexed, 
and his bringing in thereafter those words of the same prince: “John have I beheaded: but 
who is this of whom I hear such things?” we must either understand that after the said per- 
plexity he became persuaded in his own mind of the truth of what was asserted by others, 
when he spoke to his servants, in accordance with the version given by Matthew, which 


1038 Matt. xiv. 1,2. 

1039 Markvi. 14-16. 

1040 Dicebant; so that the reading eXeyov is followed instead of eA.eyev in Mark vi. 14. [Westcott and Hort 
give the plural in their text, following the Vatican codex and some other authorities. — R.] 

1041 Luke ix. 7-9. 


326 


Of the Mutual Consistency of the Accounts Which are Given by Matthew, Mark,... 


runs thus: “And he said to his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; 
and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him;” or we must suppose that 
these words were uttered in a manner betraying that he was still in a state of perplexity. For 
had he said, “Can this be John the Baptist?” or, “Can it chance that this is John the Baptist?” 
there would have been no need of saying anything about a mode of utterance by which he 
might have revealed his dubiety and perplexity. But seeing that these forms of expression 
are not before us, his words may be taken to have been pronounced in either of two ways: 
so that we may either suppose him to have been convinced by what was said by others, and 
so to have spoken the words in question with a real belief [in John’s reappearance]; or we 
may imagine him to have been still in that state of hesitancy of which mention is made by 
Luke. Our explanation is favoured by the fact that Mark, who had already told us how it 
was by others that the statement was made as to John having risen from the dead, does not 
fail to let us know also that in the end Herod himself spoke to this effect: “It is John whom 
I beheaded: he is risen from the dead .” 1042 For these words may also be taken to have been 
pronounced in either of two ways, — namely, as the utterances either of one corroborating 
a fact, or of one in doubt. Moreover, while Luke passes on to a new subject after the notice 
which he gives of this incident, those other two, Matthew and Mark, take occasion to tell 
us at this point in what way John was put to death by Herod. 


1042 [Augustin gives the reading followed in the Revised Version (“John whom I beheaded, he is risen”). 
The translator gives the words of the Authorized Version. — R.] 


327 



Of the Order in Which the Accounts of John’s Imprisonment and Death are... 


Chapter XLIV. — Of the Order in Which the Accounts of John’s Imprisonment and 

Death are Given by These Three Evangelists. 

92. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “For Herod laid 
hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother’s wife;” 
and so on, down to the words, “And his disciples came and took up the body, and buried 
it, and went and told Jesus.” 1043 Mark gives this narrative in similar terms. 1044 Luke, on the 
other hand, does not relate it in the same succession, but introduces it in connection with 
his statement of the baptism wherewith the Lord was baptized. Hence we are to understand 
him to have acted by anticipation here, and to have taken the opportunity of recording at 
this point an event which took place actually a considerable period later. For he has first 
reported those words which John spake with regard to the Lord — namely, that “His fan is 
in His hand, and that He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His 
garner; but the chaff He will burn up with fire unquenchable;” and immediately thereafter 
he has appended his statement of an incident which the evangelist John demonstrates not 
to have taken place in direct historical sequence. For this latter writer mentions that, after 
Jesus had been baptized, He went into Galilee at the period when He turned the water into 
wine; and that, after a sojourn of a few days in Capharnaum, He left that district and returned 
to the land of Judaea, and there baptized a multitude about the Jordan, previous to the time 
when John was imprisoned. 1045 Now what reader, unless he were all the better versed 1046 
in these writings, would not take it to be implied here that it was after the utterance of the 
words with regard to the fan and the purged floor that Herod became incensed against John, 
and cast him into prison? Yet, that the incident referred to here did not, as matter of fact, 
occur in the order in which it is here recorded, we have already shown elsewhere; and, indeed, 
Luke himself puts the proof into our hands. 1047 For if [he had meant that] John’s incarcer- 
ation took place immediately after the utterance of those words, then what are we to make 
of the fact that in Luke’s own narrative the baptism of Jesus is introduced subsequently to 
his notice of the imprisonment of John? Consequently it is manifest that, recalling the cir- 
cumstance in connection with the present occasion, he has brought it in here by anticipation, 
and has thus inserted it in his history at a point antecedent to a number of incidents, of 
which it was his purpose to leave us some record, and which, in point of time, were antecedent 
to this mishap that befell John. But it is as little the case that the other two evangelists, 


1043 Matt. xiv. 3-12. 

1044 Markvi. 17-29. 

1045 John ii. 1, 12, iii. 22-24. 

1046 The reading in the mss. and in Migne’s text is, quis autem non putet qui minus in his litteris eruditus 
est\ for which some give, quis autem non putet nisi qui minus , etc. 

1047 Luke iii. 15-21. 


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Of the Order in Which the Accounts of John’s Imprisonment and Death are... 


Matthew and Mark, have placed the fact of John’s imprisonment in that position in their 
narratives which, as is apparent also from their own writings, belonged to it in the actual 
order of events. For they, too, have told us how it was on John’s being cast into prison that 
the Lord went into Galilee ; 1048 and then, after [relating] a number of things which He did 
in Galilee, they come to Herod’s admonition or doubt as to the rising again from the dead 
of that John whom he beheaded ; 1049 and in connection with this latter occasion, they give 
us the story of all that occurred in the matter of John’s incarceration and death. 


1048 Matt. iv. 12; Mark i. 14. 

1049 Matt. xiv. 1, 2; Mark vi. 14-16. 


329 


Of the Order and the Method in Which All the Four Evangelists Come to the... 


Chapter XLV. — Of the Order and the Method in Which All the Four Evangelists 

Come to the Narration of the Miracle of the Five Loaves. 

93. After stating how the report of John’s death was brought to Christ, Matthew continues 
his account, and introduces it in the following connection: “When Jesus heard of it, He de- 
parted thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they 
followed Him on foot out of the cities. And He went forth, and saw a great multitude, and 
was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.” 1050 He mentions, 
therefore, that this took place immediately after John had suffered. Consequently it was 
after this that those things took place which have been previously recorded — namely, the 
circumstances which alarmed Herod, and induced him to say, “John have I beheaded.” 1051 
For it must surely be understood that these incidents occurred subsequently which report 
carried to the ears of Herod, so that he became anxious, and was in perplexity as to who 
that person possibly could be of whom he heard things so remarkable, when he had himself 
put John to death. Mark, again, after relating how John suffered, mentions that the disciples 
who had been sent forth returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught; 
and that the Lord (a fact which he alone records) directed them to rest for a little while in 
a desert place, and that He went on board a vessel with them, and departed; and that the 
crowds of people, when they perceived that movement, went before them to that place; and 
that the Lord had compassion on them, and taught them many things; and that, when the 
hour was now advancing, it came to pass that all who were present were made to eat of the 
five loaves and the two fishes. 1052 This miracle has been recorded by all the four evangelists. 
For in like manner, Luke, who has given an account of the death of John at a much earlier 
stage in his narrative, 1053 in connection with the occasion of which we have spoken, in the 
present context tells us first of Herod’s perplexity as to who the Lord could be, and immedi- 
ately thereafter appends statements to the same effect with those in Mark, — namely, that 
the apostles returned to Him, and reported to Him all that they had done; and that then He 
took them with Him and departed into a desert place, and that the multitudes followed Him 
thither, and that He spake to them concerning the kingdom of God, and restored those who 
stood in need of healing. Then, too, he mentions that, when the day was declining, the 
miracle of the five loaves was wrought. 1054 

94. But John, again, who differs greatly from those three in this respect, that he deals 
more with the discourses which the Lord delivered than with the works which He so mar- 


1050 Matt. xiv. 13, 14. 

1051 Luke ix. 9. 

1052 Mark vi. 30-44. 

1053 Luke iii. 20. 

Luke ix. 10-17. 


1054 


330 


Of the Order and the Method in Which All the Four Evangelists Come to the... 


vellously wrought, after recording how He left Judaea and departed the second time into 
Galilee, which departure is understood to have taken place at the time to which the other 
evangelists also refer when they tell us that on John’s imprisonment He went into Ga- 
lilee, — after recording this, I say, John inserts in the immediate context of his narrative the 
considerable discourse which He spake as He was passing through Samaria, on the occasion 
of His meeting with the Samaritan woman whom He found at the well; and then he states 
that two days after this He departed thence and went into Galilee, and that thereupon He 
came to Cana of Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine, and that there He healed 
the son of a certain nobleman . 1055 But as to other things which the rest have told us He did 
and said in Galilee, John is silent. At the same time, however, he mentions something which 
the others have left unnoticed, — namely, the fact that He went up to Jerusalem on the day 
of the feast, and there wrought the miracle on the man who had the infirmity of thirty-eight 
years standing, and who found no one by whose help he might be carried down to the pool 
in which people afflicted with various diseases were healed . 1056 In connection with this, 
John also relates how He spake many things on that occasion. He tells us, further, that after 
these events He departed across the sea of Galilee, which is also the sea of Tiberias, and that 
a great multitude followed Him; that thereupon He went away to a mountain, and there sat 
with His disciples, — the passover, a feast of the Jews, being then nigh; that then, on lifting 
up His eyes and seeing a very great company, He fed them with the five loaves and the two 
fishes ; 1057 which notice is given us also by the other evangelists. And this makes it certain 
that he has passed by those incidents which form the course along which these others have 
come to introduce the notice of this miracle into their narratives. Nevertheless, while different 
methods of narration, as it appears, are prosecuted, and while the first three evangelists have 
thus left unnoticed certain matters which the fourth has recorded, we see how those three, 
on the one hand, who have been keeping nearly the same course, have found a direct 
meeting-point with each other at this miracle of the five loaves; and how this fourth writer, 
on the other hand, who is conversant above all with the profound teachings of the Lord’s 
discourses, in relating some other matters on which the rest are silent, has sped round in a 
certain method upon their track, and, while about to soar off from their pathway after a 
brief space again into the region of loftier subjects, has found a meeting-point with them in 


1055 John iv. 3, 5, 43-54. 

1056 [Augustin here passes over one of the most difficult questions in connection with the Gospel history. 
The length of our Lord’s ministry turns upon the feast referred to in John v. If it was passover, then John refers 
to four passovers; and our Lord’s ministry extended over three years and a few weeks. If some other feast is 
meant, the ministry covered but two years and a few weeks. — R.] 

1057 Johnv.-vi. 13. 


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Of the Order and the Method in Which All the Four Evangelists Come to the... 


the view of presenting this narrative of the miracle of the five loaves, which is common to 
them all. 


332 



Of the Question as to How the Four Evangelists Harmonize with Each Other... 


Chapter XLVI. — Of the Question as to How the Four Evangelists Harmonize with 

Each Other on This Same Subject of the Miracle of the Five Loaves. 

95. Matthew then proceeds and carries on his narrative in due consecution to the said 
incident connected with the five loaves in the following manner: “And when it was evening, 
His disciples came to Him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the 
multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus 
said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat;” and so forth, down to where we 
read, “And the number of those who ate was five thousand men, besides women and chil- 
dren.” 1058 This miracle, therefore, which all the four evangelists record, 1059 and in which 
they are supposed to betray certain discrepancies with each other, must be examined and 
subjected to discussion, in order that we may also learn from this instance some rules which 
will be applicable to all other similar cases in the form of principles regulating modes of 
statement in which, however diverse they may be, the same sense is nevertheless retained, 
and the same veracity in the expression of matters of fact is preserved. And, indeed, this 
investigation ought to begin not with Matthew, although that would be in accordance with 
the order in which the evangelists stand, but rather with John, by whom the narrative in 
question is told with such particularity as to record even the names of the disciples with 
whom the Lord conversed on this subject. For he gives the history in the following terms: 
“When Jesus than lifted up His eyes, and saw a very great company come unto Him, He 
saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove 
him; for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred penny- 
worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of 
His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which 
hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are they among so many? Jesus said therefore, 
Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in 
number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, 
He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise 
of the fishes as much as they would. And when they were filled, He said unto His disciples, 
Gather up the fragments that remain, that they be not lost. Therefore they gathered them 
together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained 
over and above unto them that had eaten.” 1060 

96. The inquiry which we have here to handle does not concern itself with a statement 
given by this evangelist, in which he specifies the kind of loaves; for he has not omitted to 
mention, what has been omitted by the others, that they were barley loaves. Neither does 


1058 Matt. xiv. 15-21. 

1059 Mark vi. 34-44; Luke ix. 12-17. 

1060 John vi. 5-13. 


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Of the Question as to How the Four Evangelists Harmonize with Each Other... 


the question deal with what he has left unnoticed, — namely, the fact that, in addition to the 
five thousand men, there were also women and children, as Matthew tells us. And it ought 
now by all means to be a settled matter, and one kept regularly in view in all such investiga- 
tions, that no one should find any difficulty in the mere circumstance that something which 
is unrecorded by one writer is related by another. But the question here is as to how the 
several matters narrated by these writers may be [shown to be] all true, so that the one of 
them, in giving his own peculiar version, does not put out of court the account offered by 
the other. For if the Lord, according to the narrative of John, on seeing the multitudes before 
Him, asked Philip, with the view of proving him, whence bread might be got to be given to 
them, a difficulty may be raised as to the truth of the statement which is made by the oth- 
ers, — namely, that the disciples first said to the Lord that He should send the multitudes 
away, in order that they might go and purchase food for themselves in the neighbouring 
localities, and that He made this reply to them, according to Matthew: “They need not depart; 
give ye them to eat .” 1061 With this last Mark and Luke also agree, only that they leave out 
the words, “They need not depart.” We are to suppose, therefore, that after these words the 
Lord looked at the multitude, and spoke to Philip in the terms which John records, but 
which those others have omitted. Then the reply which, according to John, was made by 
Philip, is mentioned by Mark as having been given by the disciples, — the intention being, 
that we should understand Philip to have returned this answer as the mouthpiece of the 
rest; although they may also have put the plural number in place of the singular, according 
to very frequent usage. The words here actually ascribed to Philip — namely, “Two hundred 
pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a 
little” 1062 — have their counterpart in this version by Mark, “Shall we go and buy two hundred 
pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat ?” 1063 The expression, again, which the same 
Mark relates to have been used by the Lord, namely, “How many loaves have ye?” has been 
passed by without notice by the rest. On the other hand, the statement occurring in John, 
to the effect that Andrew made the suggestion about the five loaves and the two fishes, appears 
in the others, who use here the plural number instead of the singular, as a notice referring 
the suggestion to the disciples generally. And, indeed, Luke has coupled Philip’s reply to- 
gether with Andrew’s answer in one sentence. For when he says, “We have no more but five 
loaves and two fishes,” he reports Andrew’s response; but when he adds, “except we should 
go and buy meat for all this people,” he seems to carry us back to Philip’s reply, only that 
he has left unnoticed the “two hundred pennyworth.” At the same time, that [sentence about 
the going and buying meat] may also be understood to be implied in Andrew’s own words. 


1061 Matt. xiv. 16. 

1062 John vi. 7. 

1063 Mark vi. 37. 


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Of the Question as to How the Four Evangelists Harmonize with Each Other... 


For after saying, “There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two fishes,” he likewise 
subjoined, “But what are they among so many?” And this last clause really means the same 
as the expression in question, namely, “except we should go and buy meat for all this people.” 

97. From all this variety of statement which is found in connection with a genuine har- 
mony in regard to the matters of fact and the ideas conveyed, it becomes sufficiently clear 
that we have the wholesome lesson inculcated upon us, that what we have to look to in 
studying a person’s words is nothing else than the intention of the speakers; in setting forth 
which intention all truthful narrators ought to take the utmost pains when they record 
anything, whether it may relate to man, or to angels, or to God. For the subjects’ mind and 
intention admit of being expressed in words which should leave no appearance of any dis- 
crepancies as regards the matter of fact. 

98. In this connection, it is true, we ought not to omit to direct the reader’s attention to 
certain other matters which may turn out to be of a kindred nature with those already con- 
sidered. One of these is found in the circumstance that Luke has stated that they were ordered 
to sit down by fifties, whereas Mark’s version is that it was by hundreds and by fifties. This 
difference, however, creates no real difficulty. The truth is, that the one has reported simply 
a part, and the other has given the whole. For the evangelist who has introduced the notice 
of the hundreds as well as the fifties has just mentioned something which the other has left 
unmentioned. But there is no contradiction between them on that account. If, indeed, the 
one had noticed only the fifties, and the other only the hundreds, they might certainly have 
seemed to be in some antagonism with each other, and it might not have been easy to make 
it plain that both instructions were actually uttered, although only the one has been specified 
by the former writer, and the other by the latter. And yet, even in such a case, who will not 
acknowledge that when the matter was subjected to more careful consideration, the solution 
should have been discovered? This I have instanced now for this reason, that matters of that 
kind do often present themselves, which, while they really contain no discrepancies, appear 
to do so to persons who pay insufficient attention to them, and pronounce upon them in- 
considerately. 


335 



Of His Walking Upon the Water, and of the Questions Regarding the Harmony... 


Chapter XLVII. — Of His Walking Upon the Water, and of the Questions Regarding 

the Harmony of the Evangelists Who Have Narrated that Scene, and Regarding 

the Manner in Which They Pass Off from the Section Recording the Occasion 

on Which He Fed the Multitudes with the Five Foaves. 

99. Matthew goes on with his account in the following terms: “And when He had sent 
the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was 
come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: 
for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came unto them, walking 
on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, 
It is a spirit;” and so on, down to the words, “They came and worshipped Him, saying, Of 
a truth Thou art the Son of God.” 1064 In like manner, Mark, after narrating the miracle of 
the five loaves, gives his account of this same incident in the following terms: “And when 
it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. And He saw them 
toiling in rowing: for the wind was contrary to them,” and so on. 1065 This is similar to 
Matthew’s version, except that nothing is said as to Peter’s walking upon the waters. But 
here we must see to it, that no difficulty be found in what Mark has stated regarding the 
Lord, namely, that, when He walked upon the waters, He would also have passed by them. 
For in what way could they have understood this, were it not that He was really proceeding 
in a different direction from them, as if minded to pass those persons by like strangers, who 
were so far from recognizing Him that they took Him to be a spirit? Who, however, is so 
obtuse as not to perceive that this bears a mystical significance? At the same time, too, He 
came to the help of the men in their perturbation and outcry, and said to them, “Be of good 
cheer, it is I; be not afraid.” What is the explanation, therefore, of His wish to pass by those 
persons whom nevertheless He thus encouraged when they were in terror, but that that in- 
tention to pass them by was made to serve the purpose of drawing forth those cries to which 
it was meet to bear succour? 

100. Furthermore, John still tarries for a little space with these others. For, after his re- 
cital of the miracle of the five loaves, he also gives us some account of the vessel that laboured, 
and of the Lord’s act in walking upon the sea. This notice he connects with his preceding 
narrative in the following manner: “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come 
and take Him by force and make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself 
alone. And when it became late, His disciples went down unto the sea; and when they had 
entered into a ship, they came over the sea to Capharnaum: and it was now dark, and Jesus 
was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew,” and so on. 1066 


1064 Matt. xiv. 23-33. 

1065 Mark vi. 47-54. 

1066 Johnvi. 15-21. 


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Of His Walking Upon the Water, and of the Questions Regarding the Harmony... 


In this there cannot appear to be anything contrary to the records preserved in the other 
Gospels, unless it be the circumstance that Matthew tells us how, when the multitudes were 
sent away, He went up into a mountain, in order that there He might pray alone; while John 
states that He was on a mountain with those same multitudes whom He fed with the five 
loaves . 1067 But seeing that John also informs us how He departed into a mountain after the 
said miracle, to preclude His being taken possession of by the multitudes, who wished to 
make Him a king, it is surely evident that they had come down from the mountain to more 
level ground when those loaves were provided for the crowds. And consequently there is 
no contradiction between the statements made by Matthew and John as to His going up 
again to the mountain. The only difference is, that Matthew uses the phrase “He went up,” 
while John’s term is “He departed.” And there would be an antagonism between these two, 
only if in departing He had not gone up. Nor, again, is any want of harmony betrayed by 
the fact that Matthew’s words are, “He went up into a mountain apart to pray;” whereas 
John puts it thus: “When He perceived that they would come to make Him a king, He de- 
parted again into a mountain Himself alone.” Surely the matter of the departure is in no 
way a thing antagonistic to the matter of prayer. For, indeed, the Lord, who in His own 
person transformed the body of our humiliation in order that He might make it like unto 
the body of His own glory , 1068 hereby taught us also the truth that the matter of departure 
should be to us in like manner grave matter for prayer. Neither, again, is there any defect 
of consistency proved by the circumstance that Matthew has told us first how He commanded 
His disciples to embark in the little ship, and to go before Him unto the other side of the 
lake until He sent the multitudes away, and then informs us that, after the multitudes were 
sent away, He Himself went up into a mountain alone to pray; while John mentions first 
that He departed unto a mountain alone, and then proceeds thus: “And when it became 
late, His disciples came down unto the sea; and when they had entered into a ship,” etc. For 
who will not perceive that, in recapitulating the facts, John has spoken of something as ac- 
tually done at a later point by the disciples, which Jesus had already charged them to do 
before His own departure unto the mountain; just as it is a familiar procedure in discourse, 
to revert in some fashion or other to any matter which otherwise would have been passed 
over? But inasmuch as it may not be specifically noted that a reversion, especially when 
done briefly and instantaneously, is made to something omitted, the auditors are sometimes 
led to suppose that the occurrence which is mentioned at the later stage also took place lit- 


1067 Reading in monte fuisse cum eisdem turbis quas de quinque panibus pavit. According to Migne, this is 
the reading of several mss. of the better class; some twelve other mss. give in monte fuisse cum easdem turbas, 
etc. = “He was on a mountain when He fed,” etc. Some editions have also in montem fugisse cum easdem, etc. = 
“He departed to a mountain when He fed,” etc. 

1068 Phil. iii. 21. 


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Of His Walking Upon the Water, and of the Questions Regarding the Harmony... 


erally at the later period. In this way the evangelist’s statement really is, that to those persons 
whom he had described as embarking in the ship and coming across the sea to Capharnaum, 
the Lord came, walking toward them upon the waters, as they were toiling in the deep; which 
approach of the Lord of course took place at the earlier point, during the said voyage in 
which they were making their way to Capharnaum. 1069 

101. On the other hand, Luke, after the record of the miracle of the five loaves, passes 
to another subject, and diverges from this order of narration. For he makes no mention of 
that little ship, and of the Lord’s pathway over the waters. But after the statement conveyed 
in these words, “And they did all eat, and were filled, and there was taken up of fragments 
that remained to them twelve baskets,” he has subjoined the following notice: “And it came 
to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him; and He asked them, saying, 
Who say the people that I am?” 1070 Thus he relates in this succession something new, which 
is not given by those three who have left us the account of the manner in which the Lord 
walked upon the waters, and came to the disciples when they were on the voyage. It ought 
not, however, on this account, to be supposed that it was on that same mountain to which 
Matthew has told us He went up in order to pray alone, that He said to His disciples, “Who 
say the people that I am?” For Luke, too, seems to harmonize with Matthew in this, because 
his words are, “as He was alone praying;” while Matthew’s were, “He went up unto a 
mountain alone to pray.” But it must by all means be held to have been on a different occasion 
that He put this question, since [it is said here, both that] He prayed alone, and [that] the 
disciples were with Him. Thus Luke, indeed, has mentioned only the fact of His being alone, 
but has said nothing of His being without His disciples, as is the case with Matthew and 
John, since [according to these latter] they left Him in order to go before Him to the other 
side of the sea. For with unmistakeable plainness Luke has added the statement that “His 
disciples also were with Him.” Consequently, in saying that He was alone, he meant his 
statement to refer to the multitudes, who did not abide with Him. 


1069 [The difficulty in regard to the course of the ship did not suggest itself to Augustin, nor does he allude 
to the position of Bethsaida. Luke ix. 10 seems to place it on one side of the lake and Mark vi. 45 on the other. 
A contrary wind would blow them across the lake, unless they were trying to get to some point on the eastern 
shore; from which shore they certainly started, after the feeding of the five thousand. — R.] 

1070 Luke ix. 17, 18. 


338 


Of the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and Mark on the One Hand,... 


Chapter XLVIII. — Of the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and Mark 

on the One Hand, and John on the Other, in the Accounts Which the Three Give 

Together of What Took Place After the Other Side of the Lake Was Reached. 

102. Matthew proceeds as follows: “And when they were gone over, they came into the 
land of Genesar . And when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out unto 
all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased, and besought 
Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made 
perfectly whole. Then came to Him scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem, saying, Why do 
thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they 
eat bread,” and so on, down to the words, “But to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a 
man.” 1071 This is also related by Mark, in a way which precludes the raising of any question 
about discrepancies. For anything expressed here by the one in a form differing from that 
used by the other, involves at least no departure from identity in sense. John, on the other 
hand, fixing his attention, as his wont is, upon the Lord’s discourses, passes on from the 
notice of the ship, which the Lord reached by walking upon the waters, to what took place 
after they disembarked upon the land, and mentions that He took occasion from the eating 
of the bread to deliver many lessons, dealing pre-eminently with divine things. After this 
address, too, his narrative is again borne on to one subject after another, in a sublime 
strain. At the same time, this transition which he thus makes to different themes does 
not involve any real want of harmony, although he exhibits certain divergencies from these 
others, with the order of events presented by the rest of the evangelists. For what is there to 
hinder us from supposing at once that those persons, whose story is given by Matthew and 
Mark, were healed by the Lord, and that He delivered this discourse which John recounts 
to the people who followed Him across the sea? Such a supposition is made all the more 
reasonable by the fact that Capharnaum, to which place they are said, according to John, to 
have crossed, is near the lake of Genesar; and that, again, is the district into which they came, 
according to Matthew, on landing. 


1071 Matt. xiv. 34-xv. 20. 

1072 John vi. 22-72. 


339 


Of the Woman of Canaan Who Said, ‘Yet the Dogs Eat of the Crumbs Which Fall... 


Chapter XLIX. — Of the Woman of Canaan Who Said, “Yet the Dogs Eat of the 

Crumbs Which Fall from Their Masters’ Tables,” And of the Harmony Between 

the Account Given by Matthew and that by Luke. 

103. Matthew, accordingly, proceeds with his narrative, after the notice of that discourse 
which the Lord delivered in the presence of the Pharisees on the subject of the unwashed 
hands. Preserving also the order of the succeeding events, as far as it is indicated by the 
transitions from the one to the other, he introduces this account into the context in the 
following manner: “And Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, 
Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a 
devil. But He answered her not a word,” and so on, down to the words, “O woman, great is 
thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that 
very hour.” This story of the woman of Canaan is recorded also by Mark, who keeps 
the same order of events, and gives no occasion to raise any question as to a want of harmony, 
unless it be found in the circumstance that he tells us how the Lord was in the house at the 
time when the said woman came to Him with the petition on behalf of her daughter. 1074 
Now we might readily suppose that Matthew has simply omitted mention of the house, 
while nevertheless relating the same occurrence. But inasmuch as he states that the disciples 
made the suggestion to Him in these terms, “Send her away, for she crieth after us,” he seems 
to imply distinctly that the woman gave utterance to these cries of entreaty behind the Lord 
as He walked on. In what sense, then, could it have been “in the house,” unless we are to 
take Mark to have intimated the fact, that she had gone into the place where Jesus then was, 
when he mentioned at the beginning of the narrative that He was in the house? But when 
Matthew says that “He answered her not a word,” he has given us also to understand what 
neither of the two evangelists has related explicitly, — namely, the fact that during that silence 
which He maintained Jesus went out of the house. And in this manner all the other particulars 
are brought into a connection which from this point onwards presents no kind of appearance 
of discrepancy. For as to what Mark records with respect to the answer which the Lord gave 
her, to the effect that it was not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it unto the dogs, 
that reply was returned only after the interposition of certain sayings which Matthew has 
not left unrecorded. That is to say, [we are to suppose that] there came in first the request 
which the disciples addressed to Him in regard to the woman’s case, and the answer He 
gave them, to the effect that He was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; 
that next there was her own approach, or, in other words, her coming after Him, and wor- 


1073 Matt. xv. 21-28. 

1074 Mark vii. 24-30. 


340 


Of the Woman of Canaan Who Said , ‘Yet the Dogs Eat of the Crumbs Which Fall... 


shipping Him, saying, “Lord, help me;” and that then, after all these incidents, those words 
were spoken which have been recorded by both the evangelists. 


341 



Of the Occasion on Which He Fed the Multitudes with the Seven Loaves, and... 


Chapter L. — Of the Occasion on Which He Fed the Multitudes with the Seven Loaves, 

and of the Question as to the Harmony Between Matthew and Mark in Their 
Accounts of that Miracle. 

104. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus had 
departed from thence, He came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, 
and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that 
were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet, and 
He healed them; insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, 
the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God 
of Israel. Then Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the 
multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat,” and so 
on, down to the words, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and 
children.” 1075 This other miracle of the seven loaves and the few little fishes is recorded also 
by Mark, and that too in almost the same order; the exception being that he inserts before 
it a narrative given by no other, — namely, that relating to the deaf man whose ears the Lord 
opened, when He spat and said, “Effeta,” that is, Be opened. 1076 

105. In the case of this miracle of the seven loaves, it is certainly not a superfluous task 
to call attention to the fact that these two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, have thus intro- 
duced it into their narrative. For if one of them had recorded this miracle, who at the same 
time had taken no notice of the instance of the five loaves, he would have been judged to 
stand opposed to the rest. For in such circumstances, who would not have supposed that 
there was only the one miracle wrought in actual fact, and that an incomplete and unveracious 
version of it had been given by the writer referred to, or by the others, or by all of them to- 
gether; so [that we must have imagined] either that the one evangelist, by a mistake on his 
own part, had been led to mention seven loaves instead of five; or that the other two, 
whether as having both presented an incorrect statement, or as having been misled through 
a slip of memory, had put the number five for the number seven. In like manner, it might 
have been supposed that there was a contradiction between the twelve baskets and the 
seven baskets, and again, between the five thousand and the four thousand, expressing 
the numbers of those who were fed. But now, since those evangelists who have given us the 
account of the miracle of the seven loaves have also not failed to mention the other miracle 
of the five loaves, no difficulty can be felt by any one, and all can see that both works were 


1075 Matt. xv. 29-38. 

1076 Mark vii. 31-viii. 9. 

1077 Cophinis. 

Sportis. 


1078 


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Of the Occasion on Which He Fed the Multitudes with the Seven Loaves, and... 


really wrought. This, accordingly, we have instanced, in order that, if in any other passage 
we come upon some similar deed of the Lord’s, which, as told by one evangelist, seems so 
utterly contrary to the version of it given by another that no method of solving the difficulty 
can possibly be found, we may understand the explanation to be simply this, that both in- 
cidents really took place, and that they were recorded separately by the two several writers. 
This is precisely what we have already recommended to attention in the matter of the seating 
of the multitudes by hundreds and by fifties. For were it not for the circumstance that both 
these numbers are found noted by the one historian, we might have supposed that the dif- 
ferent writers had made contradictory statements . 1079 


1079 See above, chap. xlvi. 


343 



Of Matthew’s Declaration That, on Leaving These Parts, He Came into the... 


Chapter LI. — Of Matthew’s Declaration That, on Leaving These Parts, He Came 
into the Coasts of Magedan; And of the Question as to His Agreement with Mark 
in that Intimation, as Well as in the Notice of the Saying About Jonah, Which 
Was Returned Again as an Answer to Those Who Sought a Sign. 

106. Matthew continues as follows: “And He sent away the multitude, and took ship, 
and came into the coasts of Magedan;” and so on, down to the words, “A wicked and adul- 
terous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign 
of the prophet Jonas.” 1080 This has already been recorded in another connection by the 
same Matthew. 1081 Hence again and again we must hold by the position that the Lord spake 
the same words on repeated occasions; so that when any completely irreconcilable difference 
appears between statements of His utterances, we are to understand the words to have been 
spoken twice over. In this case, indeed, Mark also keeps the same order; and after his account 
of the miracle of the seven loaves, subjoins the same intimation as is given us in Matthew, 
only with this difference, that Matthew’s expression for the locality is not Dalmanutha, as 
is read in certain codices, but Magedan. There is no reason, however, for questioning 
the fact that it is the same place that is intended under both names. For most codices, even 
of Mark’s Gospel, give no other reading than that of Magedan. Neither should any dif- 

ficulty be felt in the fact that Mark does not say, as Matthew does, that in the answer which 
the Lord returned to those who sought after a sign, He referred to Jonah, but mentions 
simply that He replied in these terms: “There shall no sign be given unto it.” For we are 
given to understand what kind of sign they asked — namely, one from heaven. And he has 
simply omitted to specify the words which Matthew has introduced regarding Jonas. 


1080 Matt. xv. 39-xvi. 4. 

1081 Matt. xii. 38. 

1082 Markviii. 10-12. 

1083 [“Magdala,” as the Authorized Version reads in Matthew, is poorly supported, and was probably sub- 
stituted by some ignorant scribe for “Magadan” (comp. Revised Version). In Mark viii. 10, however, the reading 
“Dalmanutha” is well attested. Augustin refers to Latin codices. — R.] 


344 


Of Matthew’s Agreement with Mark in the Statement About the Leaven of the... 


Chapter LII. — Of Matthew’s Agreement with Mark in the Statement About the 
Leaven of the Pharisees, as Regards Both the Subject Itself and the Order of 
Narrative. 

107. Matthew proceeds: “And He left them, and departed. And when His disciples were 
come to the other side, they forgot to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed, 
and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees;” and so forth, down to where 
we read, “Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but 
of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” 1084 These words are recorded also 
by Mark, and that likewise in the same order. 1085 


1084 Matt xvi. 5-12. 

1085 Mark viii. 13-21. 


345 


Of the Occasion on Which He Asked the Disciples Whom Men Said that He Was;... 


Chapter LIII. — Of the Occasion on Which He Asked the Disciples Whom Men Said 
that He Was; And of the Question Whether, with Regard Either to the Subject- 
Matter or the Order, There are Any Discrepancies Between Matthew, Mark, and 
Luke. 

108. Matthew continues thus: “And Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi; and 
He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, 1086 the Son of man, am? And they 
said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of 
the prophets;” and so on, down to the words, “And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth 
shall be loosed in heaven. Mark relates this nearly in the same order. But he has brought 
in before it a narrative which is given by him alone, — namely, that regarding the giving of 
sight to that blind man who said to the Lord, “I see men as trees walking.” Luke, again, 
also records this incident, inserting it after his account of the miracle of the five loaves; 1089 
and, as we have already shown above, the order of recollection which is followed in his case 
is not antagonistic to the order adopted by these others. Some difficulty, however, may be 
imagined in the circumstance that Luke’s representation bears that the Lord put this question, 
as to whom men held Him to be, to His disciples at a time when He was alone praying, and 
when His disciples were also with Him; whereas Mark, on the other hand, tells us that the 
question was put by Him to the disciples when they were on the way. But this will be a dif- 
ficulty only to the man who has never prayed on the way. 1090 

109. I recollect having already stated that no one should suppose that Peter received 
that name for the first time on the occasion when He said to Him, “Thou art Peter, and 
upon this rock I will build my Church.” For the time at which he did obtain this name was 
that referred to by John, when he mentions that he was addressed in these terms: “Thou 
shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter.” 1091 Hence, too, we are as little to 
think that Peter got this designation on the occasion to which Mark alludes, when he recounts 
the twelve apostles individually by name, and tells us how James and John were called the 
sons of thunder, merely on the ground that in that passage he has recorded the fact that He 
surnamed him Peter. 1092 For that circumstance is noticed there simply because it was sug- 


1086 Some editions omit the me in quem me dicum, etc., and make it = Whom do men say that the Son of 
man is? 

1087 Matt. xvi. 13-19. 

1088 Mark viii. 22-29. 

1089 Luke ix. 18-20. 

1090 Adopting, with the Ratisbon mss., eum movet qui nunquam oravit in via. Another reading is, eum movet 
quiputat nunquam , etc. = a difficulty to the man who thinks He never prayed on the way. 

1091 John i. 42. 

1092 Mark iii. 16-19. 


346 


Of the Occasion on Which He Asked the Disciples Whom Men Said that He Was;... 


gested to the writer’s recollection at that particular point, and not because it took place in 
actual fact at that specific time. 


347 



Of the Occasion on Which He Announced His Coming Passion to the Disciples,... 


Chapter LIV. — Of the Occasion on Which He Announced His Coming Passion to 
the Disciples, and of the Measure of Concord Between Matthew, Mark, and Luke 
in the Accounts Which They Give of the Same. 

110. Matthew proceeds in the following strain: “Then charged He His disciples that they 
should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to show 
unto His disciples how that He must go into Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, 
and chief priests, and scribes;” and so on, down to where we read, “Thou savourest not the 
things that be of God, but those that be of men.” 1093 Mark and Luke add these passages in 
the same order. Only Luke says nothing about the opposition which Peter expressed to the 
passion of Christ. 


1093 Matt. xvi. 20^23. 


348 


Of the Harmony Between the Three Evangelists in the Notices Which They Subjoin... 


Chapter LV. — Of the Harmony Between the Three Evangelists in the Notices Which 
They Subjoin of the Manner in Which the Lord Charged the Man to Follow Him 
Who Wished to Come After Him. 

111. Matthew continues thus: “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me;” and so on, down to 
the words, “And then He shall reward every man according to his work.” 1094 This is appended 
also by Mark, who keeps the same order. But he does not say of the Son of man, who was 
to come with His angels, that He is to reward every man according to his work. Nevertheless, 
he mentions at the same time that the Lord spoke to this effect: “Whosoever shall be ashamed 
of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of 
man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 1095 And 
this may be taken to bear the same sense as is expressed by Matthew, when he says, that “He 
shall reward every man according to his work.” Luke 1096 also adds the same statements in 
the same order, slightly varying the terms indeed in which they are conveyed, but still 
showing a complete parallel with the others in regard to the truthful reproduction of the 
self-same ideas. 1097 


1094 Matt. xvi. 24-27. 

1095 Mark viii. 34-38. 

1096 Luke ix. 25, 26. 

1097 The text gives, eadem tamen sententiarum veritate simillimus. Another reading is, sententiam veritate 


simillimo. 


349 


Of the Manifestation Which the Lord Made of Himself in Company with Moses... 


Chapter LVI. — Of the Manifestation Which the Lord Made of Himself, in Company 
with Moses and Elias, to His Disciples on the Mountain; And of the Question 
Concerning the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists with Regard to 
the Order and the Circumstances of that Event; And in Especial, the Number of 
the Days, in So Far as Matthew and Mark State that It Took Place After Six Days, 
While Luke Says that It Was After Eight Days. 

112. Matthew proceeds thus: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which 
shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom. And after six 
days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an high 
mountain;” and so on, down to where we read, “Tell the vision to no man until the Son of 
man be risen again from the dead.” This vision of the Lord upon the mount in the presence 
of the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, on which occasion also the testimony of the 
Father’s voice was borne Him from heaven, is related by the three evangelists in the same 
order, and in a manner expressing the same sense completely. 1098 And as regards other 
matters, they may be seen by the readers to be in accordance with those modes of narration 
of which we have given examples in many passages already, and in which there are diversities 
in expression without any consequent diversity in meaning. 

113. But with respect to the circumstance that Mark, along with Matthew, tells us how 
the event took place after six days, while Luke states that it was after eight days, those who 
find a difficulty here do not deserve to be set aside with contempt, but should be enlightened 
by the offering of explanations. For when we announce a space of days in these terms, “after 
so many days,” sometimes we do not include in the number the day on which we speak, or 
the day on which the thing itself which we intimate beforehand or promise is declared to 
take place, but reckon only the intervening days, on the real and full and final expiry of 
which the incident in question is to occur. This is what Matthew and Mark have done. 
Leaving out of their calculation the day on which Jesus spoke these words, and the day on 
which He exhibited that memorable spectacle on the mount, they have regarded simply the 
intermediate days, and thus have used the expression, “after six days.” But Luke, reckoning 
in the extreme day at either end, that is to say, the first day and the last day, has made it 
“after eight days,” in accordance with that mode of speech in which the part is put for the 
whole. 

114. Moreover, the statement which Luke makes with regard to Moses and Elias in these 
terms, “And it came to pass, as they departed 1099 from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, 
it is good for us to be here,” and so forth, ought not to be considered antagonistic to what 


1098 Matt. xvi. 28-xvii. 9; Mark viii. 39-ix. 9; Luke ix. 27-36. 

1099 [Dum discederent. The Revised Version correctly renders the Greek: “as they were parting.” — R.] 


350 


Of the Manifestation Which the Lord Made of Himself in Company with Moses... 


Matthew and Mark have subjoined to the same effect, as if they made Peter offer this sug- 
gestion while Moses and Elias were still talking with the Lord. For they have not expressly 
said that it was at that time, but rather they have simply left unnoticed the fact which Luke 
has added, — namely, that it was as they went away that Peter made the suggestion to the 
Lord with respect to the making of three tabernacles. At the same time, Luke has appended 
the intimation that it was as they were entering the cloud that the voice came from heaven, — a 
circumstance which is not affirmed, but which is as little contradicted, by the others. 


351 



Of the Harmony Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts Given of the Occasion... 


Chapter LVII. — Of the Harmony Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts 
Given of the Occasion on Which He Spoke to the Disciples Concerning the 
Coming of Elias. 

115. Matthew goes on thus: “And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the 
scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall 
first come and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they 
knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son 
of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the 
Baptist.” 1100 This same passage is given also by Mark, who keeps also the same order; and 
although he exhibits some diversity of expression, he makes no departure from a truthful 
representation of the same sense. 1101 He has not, however, added the statement, that the 
disciples understood that the Lord had referred to John the Baptist in saying that Elias was 
come already. 


1100 Matt. xvii. 10-13. 

1101 Markix. 10-12. 


352 


Of the Man Who Brought Before Him His Son, Whom the Disciples Were Unable... 


Chapter LVIII. — Of the Man Who Brought Before Him His Son, Whom the Disciples 
Were Unable to Heal; And of the Question Concerning the Agreement Between 
These Three Evangelists Also in the Matter of the Order of Narration Here. 

116. Matthew goes on in the following terms: “And when He was come 1 102 to the mul- 
titude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down before Him, and saying, Lord, have 
mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed;” and so on, down to the words, “Howbeit 
this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” 1103 Both Mark and Luke record this in- 
cident, and that, too, in the same order, without any suspicion of a want of harmony. 1104 


1102 Venisset. 

1103 Matt. xvii. 14-20. 

1 104 Mark ix. 16-28; Luke ix. 38-45. 


353 


Of the Occasion on Which the Disciples Were Exceeding Sorry When He Spoke... 


Chapter LIX. — Of the Occasion on Which the Disciples W ere Exceeding Sorry When 
He Spoke to Them of His Passion, as It is Related in the Same Order by the Three 
Evangelists. 

117. Matthew continues thus: “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, 
The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men; and they shall kill Him, and the 
third day He shall rise again. And they were exceeding sorry.” 1105 Mark and Luke record 
this passage in the same order. 1106 


1105 Matt xvii. 21, 22. 

1106 Mark ix. 29-31; Luke ix. 44, 45. 


354 


Of His Paying the Tribute Money Out of the Mouth of the Fish, an Incident... 


Chapter LX. — Of His Paying the Tribute Money Out of the Mouth of the Fish, an 
Incident Which Matthew Alone Mentions. 

118. Matthew continues in these terms: “And when they were come to Capharnaum, 
they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said to him, Doth not your master pay 
tribute? He saith, Yes;” and so on, down to where we read: “Thou shall find a piece of money: 
that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” 1107 He is the only one who relates this oc- 
currence, after the interposition of which he follows again the order which is pursued also 
by Mark and Luke in company with him. 


1107 Matt. xvii. 23-27. 


355 


Of the Little Child Whom He Set Before Them for Their Imitation, and of... 


Chapter LXI. — Of the Little Child Whom He Set Before Them for Their Imitation, 
and of the Offences of the World; Of the Members of the Body Causing Offences; 
Of the Angels of the Little Ones, Who Behold the Face of the Father; Of the One 
Sheep Out of the Hundred Sheep; Of the Reproving of a Brother in Private; Of 
the Loosing and the Binding of Sins; Of The Agreement of Two, and the Gather- 
ing Together of Three; Of the Forgiving of Sins Even Unto Seventy Times Seven; 
Of the Servant Who Had His Own Large Debt Remitted, and Yet Refused to 
Remit the Small Debt Which His Fellow-Servant Owed to Him; And of the 
Question as to Matthew’s Harmony with the Other Evangelists on All These 
Subjects. 

119. The same Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “In 
that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who, thinkest Thou, is the greater in the 
kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of 
them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, 
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and so on, down to the words, “So likewise 
shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his 
brother their trespasses.” 1108 Of this somewhat lengthened discourse which was spoken by 
the Lord, Mark, instead of giving the whole, has presented only certain portions, in dealing 
with which he follows meantime the same order. He has also introduced some matters which 
Matthew does not mention. 1109 Moreover, in this complete discourse, so far as we have 
taken it under consideration, the only interruption is that which is made by Peter, when he 
inquires how often a brother ought to be forgiven. The Lord, however, was speaking in a 
strain which makes it quite clear that even the question which Peter thus proposed, and the 
answer which was returned to him, belong really to the same address. Luke, again, records 
none of these things in the order here observed, with the exception of the incident with the 
little child whom He set before His disciples, for their imitation when they were thinking 
of their own greatness. 1 1 10 For if he has also narrated some other matters of a tenor resem- 
bling those which are inserted in this discourse, these are sayings which he has recalled for 
notice in other connections, and on occasions different from the present: just as John 1111 
introduces the Lord’s words on the subject of the forgiveness of sins, — namely, those to the 
effect that they should be remitted to him to whom the apostles remitted them, and that 
they should be retained to him to whom they retained them, as spoken by the Lord after 


1108 Matt, xviii. 

1109 Mark ix. 33-49. 

1110 Luke ix. 46-48. 
John xx. 23. 


mi 


356 


Of the Little Child Whom He Set Before Them for Their Imitation, and of... 


His resurrection; while Matthew mentions that in the discourse now under notice the Lord 
made this declaration, which, however, the self-same evangelist at the same time affirms to 
have been given on a previous occasion to Peter. Therefore, to preclude the necessity 
of having always to inculcate the same rule, we ought to bear in mind the fact that Jesus 
uttered the same word repeatedly, and in a number of different places, — a principle which 
we have pressed so often upon your attention already; and this consideration should save 
us from feeling any perplexity, even although the order of the sayings may be thought to 
create some difficulty. 


1112 Matt. xvi. 19. 


357 


Of the Harmony Subsisting Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts Which... 


Chapter LXII. — Of the Harmony Subsisting Between Matthew and Mark in the Ac- 
counts Which They Offer of the Time When He Was Asked Whether It Was 
Lawful to Put Away One’s Wife, and Especially in Regard to the Specific Ques- 
tions and Replies Which Passed Between the Lord and the Jews, and in Which 
the Evangelists Seem to Be, to Some Small Extent, at Variance. 

120. Matthew continues giving his narrative in the following manner: “And it came to 
pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, He departed from Galilee, and came into 
the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed Him; and He healed them 

1110 

there. The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying, Is it lawful for a 
man to put away his wife for every cause?” And so on, down to the words, “He that is able 
to receive it, let him receive it.” 1114 Mark also records this, and observes the same order. At 
the same time, we must certainly see to it that no appearance of contradiction be supposed 
to arise from the circumstance that the same Mark tells us how the Pharisees were asked by 
the Lord as to what Moses commanded them, and that on His questioning them to that effect 
they returned the answer regarding the bill of divorcement which Moses suffered them to 
write; whereas, according to Matthew’s version, it was after the Lord had spoken those words 
in which He had shown them, out of the law, how God made male and female to be one 
flesh, and how, therefore, those [thus joined together of Him] ought not to be put asunder 
by man, that they gave the reply, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of di- 
vorcement, and to put her away?” To this interrogation, also [as Matthew puts it], He says 
again in reply, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away 
your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” There is no difficulty, I repeat, in this; 
for it is not the case that Mark makes no kind of mention of the reply which was thus given 
by the Lord, but he brings it in after the answer which was returned by them to His question 
relating to the bill of divorcement. 

121. As far as the order or method of statement here adopted is concerned, we ought 
to understand that it in no way affects the truth of the subject itself, whether the question 
regarding the permission to write a bill of divorcement given by the said Moses, by whom 
also it is recorded that God made male and female to be one flesh, 1115 was addressed by 


1113 [Augustin entirely ignores the most perplexing problem in the Gospel history, namely, the proper dis- 
tribution of the matter peculiar to Luke and John, at this point in the narrative. The passages are: Lukeix. 51-xviii. 
14 and John vii. 2-xi. 54. These events cover about six months, but Matthew and Mark omit all reference to 
them. The difficulty is all the greater, since Luke inserts in his narrative many things that evidently belong to 
an earlier period {e.g., chaps, xi. 14-xiii. 19). There are also peculiar difficulties connected with the chronology 
of John x. and xi. — R.] 

1114 Matt. xix. 1-12. 

1115 Gen. ii. 24. 


358 


Of the Hcmnony Subsisting Between Matthew and Mark in the Accounts Which... 


these Pharisees to the Lord at the time when He was forbidding the separation of husband 
and wife, and confirming His declaration on that subject by the authority of the law; or 
whether the said question was conveyed in the reply which the same persons returned to 
the Lord, at the time when He asked them about what Moses had commanded them. For 
His intention was not to offer them any reason for the permission which Moses thus granted 
them until they had first mentioned the matter themselves; which intention on His part is 
what is indicated by the inquiry which Mark has introduced. On the other hand, their desire 
was to use the authority of Moses in commanding the giving of a bill of divorcement, for 
the purpose of stopping His mouth, so to speak, in the matter of forbidding, as they believed 
He undoubtedly would do, a man to put away his wife. For they had approached Him with 
the view of saying what would tempt Him. And this desire of theirs is what is indicated by 
Matthew, when, instead of stating how they were interrogated first themselves, he represents 
them as having of their own accord put the question about the precept of Moses, in order 
that they might thereby, as it were, convict the Lord of doing what was wrong in prohibiting 
the putting away of wives. Wherefore, since the mind of the speakers, in the service of which 
the words ought to stand, has been exhibited by both evangelists, it is no matter how the 
modes of narration adopted by the two may differ, provided neither of them fails to give a 
correct representation of the subject itself. 

122. Another view of the matter may also be taken, namely, that, in accordance with 
Mark’s statement, when these persons began by questioning the Lord on the subject of the 
putting away of a wife, He questioned them in turn as to what Moses commanded them; 
and that, on their replying that Moses suffered them to write a bill of divorcement and put 
the wife away, He made His answer to them regarding the said law which was given by 
Moses, reminding them how God instituted the union of male and female, and addressing 
them in the words which are inserted by Matthew, namely, “Have ye not read that He which 
made them at the beginning made them male and female?” and so on. On hearing these 
words, they repeated in the form of an inquiry what they had already given utterance to 
when replying to His first interrogation, namely the expression, “Why did Moses then 
command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” Then Jesus showed that 
the reason was the hardness of their heart; which explanation Mark brings in, with a view 
to brevity, at an earlier point, as if it had been given in reply to that former response of theirs, 
which Matthew has passed over. And this he does as judging that no injury could be done 
to the truth at whichever point the explanation might be introduced, seeing that the words, 
with a view to which it was returned, had been uttered twice in the same form; and seeing 
also that the Lord, in any case, had offered the said explanation in reply to such words. 


359 



Of the Little Children on Whom He Laid His Hands; Of the Rich Man to Whom... 


Chapter LXIII. — Of the Little Children on Whom He Laid His Hands; Of the Rich 
Man to Whom He Said, “Sell All that Thou Hast;” Of the Vineyard in Which 
the Labourers Were Hired at Different Hours; And of the Question as to the 
Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists 
on These Subjects. 

123. Matthew proceeds thus: “Then were there brought unto Him little children, that 
He should put His hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them;” and so on, 
down to where we read, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” 1116 Mark has followed 
the same order here as Matthew. But Matthew is the only one who introduces the section 
relating to the labourers who were hired for the vineyard. Luke, on the other hand, first 
mentions what He said to those who were asking each other who should be the greatest, 
and next subjoins at once the passage concerning the man whom they had seen casting out 
devils, although he did not follow Him; then he parts company with the other two at the 
point where he tells us how He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem; and after the 
interposition of a number of subjects, 1119 he joins them again in giving the story of the rich 
man, to whom the word is addressed, “Sell all that thou hast,” 1120 which individual’s case 
is related here by the other two evangelists, but still in the succession which is followed by 
all the narratives alike. For in the passage referred to in Luke, that writer does not fail to 
bring in the story of the little children, just as the other two do immediately before the 
mention of the rich man. With regard, then, to the accounts which are given us of this rich 
person, who asks what good thing he should do in order to obtain eternal life, there may 
appear to be some discrepancy between them, because the words were, according to Matthew, 
“Why askest thou me about the good?” while according to the others they were, “Why callest 
thou me good?” The sentence, “Why askest thou me about the good?” may then be referred 
more particularly to what was expressed by the man when he put the question, “What good 
thing shall I do?” For there we have both the name “good” applied to Christ, and the question 
put. But the address “Good Master” does not of itself convey the question. Accordingly, 


1116 Matt. xix. 13-xx. 16. 

1117 Mark x. 13-31. 

1118 Luke ix. 46-51. 

1119 [Compare note on § 120. — R.] 

1120 Lukexviii. 18-30. 

1121 The Latin version is followed here. In Matt. xix. 17, where the English version gives, “Why callest thou 
me good?” the Vulgate has, Quid me interrogas de bono? [The Revised Version text agrees with the Vulgate (in 
Matthew), following the most ancient Greek mss. But the same authorities read “Master” instead of “good 
Master,” differing from the Vulgate. Augustin accepts the latter reading. — R.] 


360 


Of the Little Children on Whom He Laid His Hands; Of the Rich Man to Whom... 


the best method of disposing of it is to understand both these sentences to have been uttered, 
“Why callest thou me good?” and, “Why askest thou me about the good?” 


361 



Of the Occasions on Which He Foretold His Passion in Private to His Disciples ; ... 


Chapter LXIV. — Of the Occasions on Which He Foretold His Passion in Private to 
His Disciples; And of the Time When the Mother of Zebedee’s Children Came 
with Her Sons, Requesting that One of Them Should Sit on His Right Hand, and 
the Other on His Left Hand; And of the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between 
Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists on These Subjects. 

124. Matthew continues his narrative in the following terms: “And Jesus, going up to 
Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; 
and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they 
shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, 
and to crucify Him; and the third day He shall rise again. Then came to Him the mother of 
Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him;” 
and so on, down to the words, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but 
to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Here again Mark keeps the same 
order as Matthew, only he represents the sons of Zebedee to have made the request them- 
selves; while Matthew has stated that it was preferred on their behalf not by their own per- 
sonal application, but by their mother, as she had laid what was their wish before the Lord. 
Hence Mark has briefly intimated what was said on that occasion as spoken by them, rather 
than by her [in their name] . And to conclude with the matter, it is to them rather than to 
her, according to Matthew no less than according to Mark, that the Lord returned His reply. 
Luke, on the other hand, after narrating in the same order our Lord’s predictions to the 
twelve disciples on the subject of His passion and resurrection, leaves unnoticed what the 
other two evangelists immediately go on to record; and after the interposition of these pas- 
sages, he is joined by his fellow-writers again [at the point where they report the incident] 
at Jericho. Moreover, as to what Matthew and Mark have stated with respect to the 
princes of the Gentiles exercising dominion over those who are subject to them, — namely, 
that it should not be so with them [the disciples], but that he who was greatest among them 
should even be a servant to the others, — Luke also gives us something of the same tenor, 
although not in that connection; 1124 and the order itself indicates that the same sentiment 
was expressed by the Lord on a second occasion. 


1122 Matt. xx. 17-28. 

1123 Luke xviii. 31-35. 

1124 Luke xxii. 24-27. 


362 


Of the Absence of Any Antagonism Between Matthew and Mark, or Between Matthew... 


Chapter LXV. — Of the Absence of Any Antagonism Between Matthew and Mark, 

or Between Matthew and Luke, in the Account Offered of the Giving of Sight to 

the Blind Men of Jericho. 

125. Matthew continues thus: “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude 

followed Him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside heard that Jesus passed 
by, and cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David;” and so on, down 
to the words, “And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” Mark 

also records this incident, but mentions only one blind man. This difficulty is solved in 
the way in which a former difficulty was explained which met us in the case of the two persons 
who were tormented by the legion of devils in the territory of the Gerasenes. For, that 

in this instance also of the two blind men whom he [Matthew] alone has introduced here, 
one of them was of pre-eminent note and repute in that city, is a fact made clear enough by 
the single consideration, that Mark has recorded both his own name and his father’s; a cir- 
cumstance which scarcely comes across us in all the many cases of healing which had been 
already performed by the Lord, unless that miracle be an exception, in the recital of which 
the evangelist has mentioned by name Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter 
Jesus restored to life. And in this latter instance this intention becomes the more apparent, 

from the fact that the said ruler of the synagogue was certainly a man of rank in the place. 
Consequently there can be little doubt that this Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, had fallen 
from some position of great prosperity, and was now regarded as an object of the most no- 
torious and the most remarkable wretchedness, because, in addition to being blind, he had 
also to sit begging. And this is also the reason, then, why Mark has chosen to mention only 
the one whose restoration to sight acquired for the miracle a fame as widespread as was the 
notoriety which the man’s misfortune itself had gained. 

126. But Luke, although he mentions an incident altogether of the same tenor, is never- 
theless to be understood as really narrating only a similar miracle which was wrought in the 
case of another blind man, and as putting on record its similarity to the said miracle in the 
method of performance. For he states that it was performed when He was coming nigh 
unto Jericho; 1 129 while the others say that it took place when He was departing from Jericho. 
Now the name of the city, and the resemblance in the deed, favour the supposition that 
there was but one such occurrence. But still, the idea that the evangelists really contradict 


1125 Matt. xx. 29-34. 

1126 Mark x. 46-52. 

1 127 See chap. xxiv. § 56. 

1128 Mark v. 22-43. 
Luke xviii. 35-43. 


1129 


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Of the Absence of Any Antagonism Between Matthew and Mark, or Between Matthew... 


each other here, in so far as the one says, “As He was come nigh unto Jericho,” while the 
others put it thus, “As He came out of Jericho,” is one which no one surely will be prevailed 
on to accept, unless those who would have it more readily credited that the gospel is unvera- 
cious, than that He wrought two miracles of a similar nature and in similar circumstances . 1130 
But every faithful son of the gospel will most readily perceive which of these two alternatives 
is the more credible, and which the rather to be accepted as true; and, indeed, every gainsayer 
too, when he is advised concerning the real state of the case, will answer himself either by 
the silence which he will have to observe, or at least by the tenor of his reflections should 
he decline to be silent. 


1130 [Various other solutions are suggested. Comp. Robinson’s Greek Harmony, rev. ed. pp. 234, 235. — R.] 

364 



Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the Consistency. . . 


Chapter LXVI. — Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the 

Consistency of His Account with that of the Other Evangelists, Who Speak Only 
of the Ass. 

127. Matthew goes on with his narrative in the following terms: “And when they drew 
nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus 
two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye 
shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her;” and so on, down to the words, “Blessed is He that 

1101 

cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark also records this occur- 

rence, and inserts it in the same order. “ Luke, on the other hand, tarries a space by Jericho, 
recounting certain matters which these others have omitted, — namely, the story of Zacchaeus, 
the chief of the publicans, and some sayings which are couched in parabolic form. After 
instancing these things, however, this evangelist again joins company with the others in the 
narrative relating to the ass on which Jesus sat. And let not the circumstance stagger us, 
that Matthew speaks both of an ass and of the colt of an ass, while the others say nothing of 
the ass. For here again we must bear in mind the rule which we have already introduced in 
dealing with the statements about the seating of the people by fifties and by hundreds on 
the occasion on which the multitudes were fed with the five loaves. 1134 Now, after this 
principle has been brought into application, the reader should not feel any serious difficulty 
in the present case. Indeed, even had Matthew said nothing about the colt, just as his fellow- 
historians have taken no notice of the ass, the fact should not have created any such perplexity 
as to induce the idea of an insuperable contradiction between the two statements, when the 
one writer speaks only of the ass, and the others only of the colt of the ass. But how much 
less cause then for any disquietude ought there to be, when we see that the one writer has 
mentioned the ass to which the others have omitted to refer, in such a manner as at the same 
time not to leave unnoticed also the colt of which the rest have spoken! In fine, where it is 
possible to suppose both objects to have been included in the occurrence, there is no real 
antagonism, although the one writer may specify only the one thing, and another only the 
other. How much less need there be any contradiction, when the one writer particularizes 
the one object, and another instances both! 

128. Again, although John tells us nothing as to the way in which the Lord despatched 
His disciples to fetch these animals to Him, nevertheless he inserts a brief allusion to this 
colt, and cites also the word of the prophet which Matthew makes use of. In the case 


1131 Matt. xxi. 1-9. 

1132 Markxi. 1-10. 

1133 Lukexix. 1-38. 

1134 See above, chap. xlvi. § 98. 
Johnxii. 14, 15. 


1135 


365 


Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the Consistency. . . 


also of this testimony from the prophet, the terms in which it is reproduced by the evangelists, 
although they exhibit certain differences, do not fail to express a sense identical in intention. 
Some difficulty, however, maybe felt in the fact that Matthew adduces this passage in a form 
which represents the prophet to have made mention of the ass; whereas this is not the case, 
either with the quotation as introduced by John, or with the version given in the ecclesiast- 
ical codices of the translation in common use. An explanation of this variation seems to me 
to be found in the fact that Matthew is understood to have written his Gospel in the Hebrew 
language. Moreover, it is manifest that the translation which bears the name of the Septuagint 
differs in some particulars from the text which is found in the Hebrew by those who know 
that tongue, and by the several scholars who have given us renderings of the same Hebrew 
books. And if an explanation is asked for this discrepancy, or for the circumstance that the 
weighty authority of the Septuagint translation diverges in many passages from the rendering 
of the truth which is discovered in the Hebrew codices, I am of opinion that no more 
probable account of the matter will suggest itself, than the supposition that the Seventy 
composed their version under the influence of the very Spirit by whose inspiration the things 
which they were engaged in translating had been originally spoken. This is an idea which 
receives confirmation also from the marvellous consent which is asserted to have character- 
ized them. Consequently, when these translators, while not departing from the real 
mind of God from which these sayings proceeded, and to the expression of which the words 
ought to be subservient, gave a different form to some matters in their reproduction of the 
text, they had no intention of exemplifying anything else than the very thing which we now 
admiringly contemplate in that kind of harmonious diversity which marks the four evangel- 
ists, and in the light of which it is made clear that there is no failure from strict truth, although 
one historian may give an account of some theme in a manner different indeed from another, 
and yet not so different as to involve an actual departure from the sense intended by the 
person with whom he is bound to be in concord and agreement. To understand this is of 
advantage to character, with a view at once to guard against what is false, and to pronounce 
correctly upon it; and it is of no less consequence to faith itself, in the way of precluding the 
supposition that, as it were with consecrated sounds, truth has a kind of defence provided 
for it which might imply God’s handing over to us not only the thing itself, but likewise the 
very words which are required for its enunciation; whereas the fact rather is, that the theme 
itself which is to be expressed is so decidedly deemed of superior importance to the words 
in which it has to be expressed, that we would be under no obligation to ask about them 


1136 [The reference here is to the story of Aristeas, to the effect that the translators, though separated, produced 
identical versions. Compare translator’s remark in Introductory Notice. — R.] 

1137 Reading quce dicenda est, sermonibus per quos dicenda. The Ratisbon edition and twelve mss. give in 
both instances discenda = to be learned, instead of dicenda = to be expressed. See Migne. 


366 



Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the Consistency. . . 


at all, if it were possible for us to know the truth without the terms, as God knows it, and as 
His angels also know it in Him. 


367 



Of the Expulsion of the Sellers and Buyers from the Temple , and of the Question... 


Chapter LXVII. — Of the Expulsion of the Sellers and Buyers from the Temple, and 
of the Question as to the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists and John, 
Who Relates the Same Incident in a Widely Different Connection. 

129. Matthew goes on with his narrative in the following terms: “And when He was 
come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, 
This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, 
and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple;” and so on, down to where we 
read, “But ye have made it a den of thieves.” This account of the multitude of sellers who 
were cast out of the temple is given by all the evangelists; but John introduces it in a remark- 
ably different order. For, after recording the testimony borne by John the Baptist to Jesus, 

and mentioning that He went into Galilee at the time when He turned the water into wine, 
and after he has also noticed the sojourn of a few days in Capharnaum, John proceeds to 
tell us that He went up to Jerusalem at the season of the Jews’ passover, and when He had 
made a scourge of small cords, drove out of the temple those who were selling in it. This 
makes it evident that this act was performed by the Lord not on a single occasion, but twice 
over; but that only the first instance is put on record by John, and the last by the other three. 


1138 Matt. xxi. 10-13; Mark xi. 15-17; Luke xix. 45, 46; John ii. 1-17. 


368 


Of the Withering of the Fig-Tree, and of the Question as to the Absence... 


Chapter LXVIII. — Of the Withering of the Fig-Tree, and of the Question as to the 
Absence of Any Contradiction Between Matthew and the Other Evangelists in 
the Accounts Given of that Incident, as Well as the Other Matters Related in 
Connection with It; And Very Specially as to the Consistency Between Matthew 
and Mark in the Matter of the Order of Narration. 

130. Matthew continues thus: “And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, 
and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that 
He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, 
they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith 
unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast 
perfected praise? And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged 
there. Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He hungered. And when He saw 
a single 1139 fig-tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only, 
and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig-tree 
withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig- 
tree withered away! But Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have 
faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig-tree; but also, if ye 
shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be 
done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” 1140 

131. Mark also records this occurrence in due succession. 1141 He does not, however, 
follow the same order in his narrative. For first of all, the fact which is related by Matthew, 
namely, that Jesus went into the temple, and cast out those who sold and bought there, is 
not mentioned at that point by Mark. On the other hand, Mark tells us that He looked round 
about upon all things, and, when the eventide was now come, went out into Bethany with 
the twelve. Next he informs us that on another day, 1142 when they were coming from 
Bethany, He was hungry, and cursed the fig-tree, as Matthew also intimates. Then the said 
Mark subjoins the statement that He came into Jerusalem, and that, on going into the temple, 
He cast out those who sold and bought there, as if that incident took place not on the first 
day specified, but on a different day. 1143 But inasmuch as Matthew puts the connection in 
these terms, “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany,” 1144 and tells us that 



1139 

Unam. 

1140 

Matt. xxi. 14-22. 

1141 

Consequenter. 

1142 

Alia die. 

1143 

Markxi. 11-17. 

1144 

Matt. xxi. 17. 


369 


Of the Withering of the Fig-Tree, and of the Question as to the Absence... 


it was when returning in the morning into the city that He cursed the tree, it is more reas- 
onable to suppose that he, rather than Mark, has preserved the strict order of time so far as 
regards the incident of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple. For when 
he uses the phrase, “And He left them, and went out,” who can be understood by those 
parties whom He is thus said to have left, but those with whom He was previously speak- 
ing, — namely, the persons who were so sore displeased because the children cried out, 
“Hosanna to the Son of David”? It follows, then, that Mark has omitted what took place on 
the first day, when He went into the temple; and in mentioning that He found nothing on 
the fig-tree but leaves, he has introduced what He called to mind only there, but what really 
occurred on the second day, as both evangelists testify. Then, further, his account bears that 
the astonishment which the disciples expressed at finding how the fig-tree had withered 
away, and the reply which the Lord made to them on the subject of faith, and the casting of 
the mountain into the sea, belonged not to this same second day on which He said to the 
tree, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever,” but to a third day. For in connection with 
the second day, the said Mark has recorded the incident of the casting of the sellers out of 
the temple, which he had omitted to notice as belonging to the first day. Accordingly, it is 
in connection with this second day that he tells us how Jesus went out of the city, when even 
was come, and how, when they passed by in the morning, the disciples saw the fig-tree dried 
up from the roots, and how Peter, calling to remembrance, said unto Him, “Master, behold 
the fig-tree which Thou cursedst is withered away .” 1145 Then, too, he informs us that He 
gave the answer relating to the power of faith. On the other hand, Matthew recounts these 
matters in a manner importing that they all took place on this second day; that is to say, 
both the word addressed to the tree, “Let no fruit grow on thee from henceforward for ever,” 
and the withering that ensued so speedily in the tree, and the reply which He made on the 
subject of the power of faith to His disciples when they observed that withering and marvelled 
at it. From this we are to understand that Mark, on his side, has recorded in connection 
with the second day what he had omitted to notice as occurring really on the first, — namely, 
the incident of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple. On the other hand, 
Matthew, after mentioning what was done on the second day, — namely, the cursing of the 
fig-tree as He was returning in the morning from Bethany into the city, — has omitted certain 
facts which Mark has inserted, namely, His coming into the city, and His going out of it in 
the evening, and the astonishment which the disciples expressed at finding the tree dried 
up as they passed by in the morning; and then to what had taken place on the second day, 
which was the day on which the tree was cursed, he has attached what really took place on 
the third day, — namely, the amazement of the disciples at seeing the tree’s withered condition, 


1145 Mark xi. 20,21. 


370 


Of the Withering of the Fig-Tree, and of the Question as to the Absence... 


and the declaration which they heard from the Lord on the subject of the power of faith. 1 146 
These several facts Matthew has connected together in such a manner that, were we not 
compelled to turn our attention to the matter by Mark’s narrative, we should be unable to 
recognise either at what point or with regard to what circumstances the former writer has 
left anything unrecorded in his narrative. The case therefore stands thus: Matthew first 
presents the facts conveyed in these words, “And He left them, and went out of the city into 
Bethany; and He lodged there. Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He 
hungered; and when He saw a single fig-tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing 
thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; 
and presently the fig-tree withered away.” Then, omitting the other matters which belonged 
to that same day, he has immediately subjoined this statement, “And when the disciples saw 
it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is it withered away!” although it was on another day 
that they saw this sight, and on another day that they thus marvelled. But it is understood 
that the tree did not wither at the precise time when they saw it, but presently when it was 
cursed. For what they saw was not the tree in the process of drying up, but the tree already 
dried completely up; and thus they learned that it had withered away immediately on the 
Lord’s sentence. 


1146 [The explanation of Augustin is still accepted by many. But the order of Mark may be followed without 
any difficulty. The long discourses occurred on the third day, and the blasted condition of the fig-tree was first 
noticed on the morning of that day; these are the main points. — R.] 


371 



Of the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists in Their Accounts of... 


Chapter LXIX. — Of the Harmony Between the First Three Evangelists in Their Ac- 
counts of the Occasion on Which the Jews Asked the Lord by What Authority 
He Did These Things. 

132. Matthew continues his narrative in the following terms: “And when He was come 
into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was 
teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this au- 
thority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye 
tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, 
whence was it?” and so on, down to the words, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do 
these things.” 1147 The other two, Mark and Luke, have also set forth this whole passage, and 
that, too, in almost as many words. 1148 Neither does there appear to be any discrepancy 
between them in regard to the order, the only exception being found in the circumstance 
of which I have spoken above, — namely, that Matthew omits certain matters belonging to 
a different day, and has constructed his narrative with a connection which, were our attention 
not called [otherwise] to the fact, might lead to the supposition that he was still treating of 
the second day, where Mark deals with the third. Moreover, Luke has not appended his 
notice of this incident, as if he meant to go over the days in orderly succession; but after 
recording the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple, he has passed by without 
notice all that is contained in the statements above — His going out into Bethany, and His 
returning to the city, and what was done to the fig-tree, and the reply touching the power 
of faith which was made to the disciples when they marvelled. And then, after all these 
omissions, he has introduced the next section of his narrative in these terms: “And He taught 
daily in the temple. But the chief priests, and the scribes, and the chief of the people sought 
to destroy Him; and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive 
to hear Him. And it came to pass, that on one of these days, as He taught the people in the 
temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him, with the 
elders, and spake unto Him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?” and 
so on; all which the other two evangelists record in like manner. From this it is apparent 
that he is in no antagonism with the others, even with regard to the order; since what he 
states to have taken place “on one of those days,” may be understood to belong to that par- 
ticular day on which they also have reported it to have occurred. 1149 


1147 Matt. xxi. 23-27. 

1 148 Mark xi. 27-33; Luke xix. 47-xx. 8. 

1149 [The order of occurrences during this day of public controversy in the temple presents few difficulties. 
It was probably the Tuesday of Passion Week. The day of the month is in dispute because of the still mooted 
question, whether our Lord ate the last passover at the regular time or one day earlier. — R.] 


372 


Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go into Flis Vineyard,... 


Chapter LXX. — Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go 
into His Vineyard, and of the Vineyard Which Was Let Out to Other Husband- 
men; Of the Question Concerning the Consistency of Matthew’s Version of 
These Passages with Those Given by the Other Two Evangelists, with Whom 
He Retains the Same Order; As Also, in Particular, Concerning the Harmony of 
His Version of the Parable, Which is Recorded by All the Three, Regarding the 
Vineyard that Was Let Out; And in Reference Specially to the Reply Made by 
the Persons to Whom that Parable Was Spoken, in Relating Which Matthew 
Seems to Differ Somewhat from the Others. 

133. Matthew goes on thus: “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he 
came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. But he answered and said, 
I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. 
And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not;” and so on, down to the words, “And 
whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will 
grind him to powder.” 1150 Mark and Luke do not mention the parable of the two sons to 
whom the order was given to go and labour in the vineyard. But what is narrated by Matthew 
subsequently to that, — namely, the parable of the vineyard which was let out to the husband- 
men, who persecuted the servants that were sent to them, and afterwards put to death the 
beloved son, and thrust him out of the vineyard, — is not left unrecorded also by those two. 
And in detailing it they likewise both retain the same order, that is to say, they bring it in 
after that declaration of their inability to tell which was made by the Jews when interrogated 
regarding the baptism of John, and after the reply which He returned to them in these words: 
“Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” 1151 

134. Now no question implying any contradiction between these accounts rises here, 
unless it be raised by the circumstance that Matthew, after telling us how the Lord addressed 
to the Jews this interrogation, “When the lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will 
he do unto those husbandmen?” adds, that they answered and said, “He will miserably 
destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall 
render him the fruits in their seasons.” For Mark does not record these last words as if they 
constituted the reply returned by the men; but he introduces them as if they were really 
spoken by the Lord immediately after the question which was put by Him, so that in a certain 
way He answered Himself. For [in this Gospel] He speaks thus: “What shall therefore the 
lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard 
unto others.” But it is quite easy for us to suppose, either that the men’s words are subjoined 


1150 Matt. xxi. 28-44. 

1151 Mark xii. 1-11; Luke xx. 9-18. 


373 


Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go into Flis Vineyard,... 


herewithout the insertion of the explanatory clause “they said,” or “they replied,” that being 
left to be understood; or else that the said response is ascribed to the Lord Himself rather 
than to these men, because when they answered with such truth, He also, who is Himself 
the Truth, really gave the same reply in reference to the persons in question. 

135. More serious difficulty, however, may be created by the fact that Luke not only 
does not speak of them as the parties who made that answer (for he, as well as Mark, attributes 
these words to the Lord), but even represents them to have given a contrary reply, and to 
have said, “God forbid.” For his narrative proceeds in these terms: “What therefore shall 
the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and 
shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And He 
beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, 
the same is become the head of the corner?” How then is it that, according to Matthew’s 
version, the men to whom He spake these words said, “He will miserably destroy those 
wicked men, and will let out this vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him 
the fruits in their seasons;” whereas, according to Luke, they gave a reply inconsistent with 
any terms like these, when they said, “God forbid”? And, in truth, what the Lord proceeds 
immediately to say regarding the stone which was rejected by the builders, and yet was made 
the head of the corner, is introduced in a manner implying that by this testimony those were 
confuted who were gainsaying the real meaning of the parable. For Matthew, no less than 
Luke, records that passage as if it were intended to meet the gainsayers, when he says, “Did 
ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become 
the head of the corner?” For what is implied by this question, “Did ye never read,” but that 
the answer which they had given was opposed to the real intention [of the parable] ? This is 
also indicated by Mark, who gives these same words in the following manner: “And have 
ye not read this scripture, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the 
corner?” This sentence, therefore, appears to occupy in Luke, rather than the others, the 
place which is properly assignable to it as originally uttered. For it is brought in by him 
directly after the contradiction expressed by those men when they said, “God forbid.” And 
the form in which it is cast by him, — namely, “What is this then that is written, The stone 
which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” — is equivalent in 
sense to the other modes of statement. For the real meaning of the sentence is indicated 
equally well, whichever of the three phrases is used, “Did ye never read?” or, “And have ye 
not read?” or, “What is this, then, that is written?” 

136. It remains, therefore, for us to understand that among the people who were 
listening on that occasion, there were some who replied in the terms related by Matthew, 
when he writes thus: “They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and 


1152 Luke xx. 15-17. 


374 


Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go into Flis Vineyard,... 


will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen;” and that there were also some who 
answered in the way indicated by Luke, that is to say, with the words, “God forbid.” Accord- 
ingly, those persons who had replied to the Lord to the former effect, were replied to by 
these other individuals in the crowd with the explanation, “God forbid.” But the answer 
which was really given by the first of these two parties, to whom the second said in return, 
“God forbid,” has been ascribed both by Mark and by Luke to the Lord Himself, on the 
ground that, as I have already intimated, the Truth Himself spake by these men, whether 
as by persons who knew not that they were wicked, in the same way that He spake also by 
Caiaphas, who when he was high priest prophesied without realizing what he said, or 
as by persons who did understand, and who had come by this time both to knowledge and 
to belief. For there was also present on this occasion that multitude of people at whose hand 
the prophecy had already received a fulfilment, when they met Him in a mighty concourse 
on His approach, and hailed Him with the acclaim, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name 
of the Lord.” 1154 

137. Neither should we stumble at the circumstance that the same Matthew has stated 
that the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the Lord, and asked Him by what 
authority He did these things, and who gave Him this authority, on the occasion when He 
too, in turn, interrogated them concerning the baptism of John, inquiring whence it was, 
whether from heaven or of men; to whom also, on their replying that they did not know, 
He said, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do those things.” For he has followed up 
this with the words introduced in the immediate context, “But what think ye? A certain man 
had two sons,” and so forth. Thus this discourse is brought into a connection which is con- 
tinued, uninterrupted by the interposition either of any thing or of any person, down to 
what is related regarding the vineyard which was let out to the husbandmen. It may, indeed, 
be supposed that He spake all these words to the chief priests and the elders of the people, 
by whom He had been interrogated with regard to His authority. But then, if these persons 
had indeed questioned Him with a view to tempt Him, and with a hostile intention, they 
could not be taken for men who had believed, and who cited the remarkable testimony in 
favour of the Lord which was taken from a prophet; and surely it is only if they had the 
character of those who believed, and not of those who were ignorant, that they could have 
given a reply like this: “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his 
vineyard to other husbandmen.” This peculiarity [of Matthew’s account], however, should 
not by any means so perplex us as to lead us to imagine that there were none who believed 
among the multitudes who listened at this time to the Lord’s parables. For it is only for the 
sake of brevity that the same Matthew has passed over in silence what Luke does not fail to 


1153 John xi. 49-51. 

1154 Ps. cxviii. 26; Matt. xxi. 9. 


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Of the Two Sons Who Were Commanded by Their Father to Go into Flis Vineyard,... 


mention, — namely, the fact that the said parable was not spoken only to the parties who 
had interrogated Him on the subject of His authority, but to the people. For the latter 
evangelist puts it thus: “Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man 
planted a vineyard,” and so on. Accordingly, we may well understand that among the people 
then assembled there might also have been persons who could listen to Him as those did 
who before this had said, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;” and that 
either these, or some of them, were the individuals who replied in the words, “He will 
miserably destroy these wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” 
The answer actually returned by these men, moreover, has been attributed to the Lord 
Himself by Mark and Luke, not only because their words were really His words, inasmuch 1155 
as He is the Truth that ofttimes speaks even by the wicked and the ignorant, moving the 
mind of man by a certain hidden instinct, not in the merit of man’s holiness, but by the 
right of His own proper power; but also because the men may have been of a character ad- 
mitting of their being reckoned, not without reason, as already members in the true body 
of Christ, so that what was said by them might quite warrantably be ascribed to Him whose 
members they were. For by this time He had baptized more than John, 1156 and had multi- 
tudes of disciples, as the same evangelists repeatedly testify; and from among these followers 
He also drew those five hundred brethren, to whom the Apostle Paul tells us that He showed 
Himself after His resurrection. And this explanation of the matter is supported by the 

fact that the phrase which occurs in the version by this same Matthew, — namely, “They say 
unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men,” — is not put in a form necessit- 

ating us to take the pronoun illi in the plural number, as if it was intended to mark out the 
words expressly as the reply made by the persons who had craftily questioned Him on the 
subject of His authority; but the clause, “They say unto Him,” 1159 is so expressed that the 
term illi should be taken for the singular pronoun, and not the plural, and should be held 
to signify “unto Him,” that is to say, unto the Lord Himself, as is made clear in the Greek 
codices, 1160 without a single atom of ambiguity. 

138. There is a certain discourse of the Lord which is given by the evangelist John, and 
which may help us more readily to understand the statement I thus make. It is to this effect: 
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then ye 


1155 Keeping quia veritas est, for which the reading qui veritas est = “who is the truth,” also occurs. 

1156 Johniv. 1. 

1157 1 Cor. xv. 6. 

1158 Aiuntilli. 

1159 Aiuntilli. 

1160 That is to say, the aiunt illi is the rendering for Aiyouoiv aurw. [This reading of the Greek text is 
abundantly attested. — R.] 


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shall be my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 
And they answered Him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: 
how sayest thou, Ye shall be free ? 1161 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house 
for ever; but the Son abideth for ever. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be 
free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word 
hath no place in you.” Now surely it is not to be supposed that He spake these words, 
“Ye seek to kill me” to those persons who had already believed on Him, and to whom He 
had said, “If ye abide in my word, then shall ye be my disciples indeed.” But inasmuch as 
He had spoken in these latter terms to the men who had already believed on Him, and as, 
moreover, there was present on that occasion a multitude of people, among whom there 
were many who were hostile to Him, even although the evangelist does not tell us explicitly 
who those parties were who made the reply referred to, the very nature of the answer which 
they gave, and the tenor of the words which thereupon were rightly directed to them by 
Him, make it sufficiently clear what specific persons were then addressed, and what words 
were spoken to them in particular. Precisely, therefore, as in the multitude thus alluded to 
by John there were some who had already believed on Jesus, and also some who sought to 
kill Him, in that other concourse which we are discussing at present there were some who 
had craftily questioned the Lord on the subject of the authority by which He did these things; 
and there were also others who had hailed Him, not in deceit, but in faith, with the acclaim, 
“Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And thus, too, there were persons 
present who could say, “He will destroy those men, and will give his vineyard to others.” 
This saying, furthermore, may be rightly understood to have been the voice of the Lord 
Himself, either in virtue of that Truth which in His own Person He is Himself, or on the 
ground of the unity which subsists between the members of His body and the head. There 
were also certain individuals present who, when these other parties gave that kind of answer, 
said to them, “God forbid,” because they understood the parable to be directed against 
themselves. 


1161 Liberi eritis. 

1162 John viii. 31-37. 


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Of the Marriage of the King’s Son, to Which the Multitudes Were Invited;... 


Chapter LXXI. — Of the Marriage of the King’s Son, to Which the Multitudes Were 
Invited; And of the Order in Which Matthew Introduces that Section as Com- 
pared with Luke, Who Gives Us a Somewhat Similar Narrative in Another 
Connection. 

139. Matthew goes on as follows: “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard 
His parables, they perceived that He spake of them: and when they sought to lay hands on 
Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet. And Jesus answered 
and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a 
certain king which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that 
were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come;” and so on, down to the words, “For 
many are called, but few are chosen.” This parable concerning the guests who were invited 
to the wedding is related only by Matthew. Luke also records something which resembles 
it. But that is really a different passage, as the order itself sufficiently indicates, although 
there is some similarity between the two. 1 164 The matters introduced, however, by Matthew 
immediately after the parable concerning the vineyard, and the killing of the son of the head 
of the house, — namely, the Jews’ perception that this whole discourse was directed against 
them, and their beginning to contrive treacherous schemes against Him, — are attested 
likewise by Mark and Luke, who also keep the same order in inserting them. 1165 But after 
this paragraph they proceed to another subject, and immediately subjoin a passage which 
Matthew has also indeed introduced in due order, but only subsequently to this parable of 
the marriage, which he alone has put on record here. 


1163 Matt. xxi. 45-xxii. 14. 

1164 Lukexiv. 16-24. 

1165 Mark xii. 12; Luke xx. 19. 


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Of the Harmony Characterizing the Narratives Given by These Three Evangelists... 


Chapter LXXII. — Of the Harmony Characterizing the Narratives Given by These 
Three Evangelists Regarding the Duty of Rendering to Caesar the Coin Bearing 
His Image, and Regarding the Woman Who Had Been Married to the Seven 
Brothers. 

140. Matthew then continues in these terms: “Then went the Pharisees, and took 
counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they send out unto Him their disciples, 
with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God 
in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men: tell us 
therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” and so on, down 
to the words, “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine.” 1166 
Mark and Luke give a similar account of these two replies made by the Lord, — namely, the 
one on the subject of the coin, which was prompted by the question as to the duty of giving 
tribute to Caesar; and the other on the subject of the resurrection, which was suggested by 
the case of the woman who had married the seven brothers in succession. Neither do these 
two evangelists differ in the matter of the order. For after the parable which told of the 
men to whom the vineyard was let out, and which also dealt with the Jews (against whom 
it was directed), and the evil counsel they were devising (which sections are given by all 
three evangelists together), these two, Mark and Luke, pass over the parable of the guests 
who were invited to the wedding (which only Matthew has introduced), and thereafter they 
join company again with the first evangelist, when they record these two passages which 
deal with Caesar’s tribute, and the woman who was the wife of seven different husbands, 
inserting them in precisely the same order, with a consistency which admits of no question. 


1166 Matt. xxii. 15-33. 

1 167 Mark xii. 13-27; Luke xx. 20-40. 


379 


Of the Person to Whom the Two Precepts Concerning the Love of God and the... 


Chapter LXXIII. — Of the Person to Whom the Two Precepts Concerning the Love 
of God and the Love of Our Neighbour Were Commended; And of the Question 
as to the Order of Narration Which is Observed by Matthew and Mark, and the 
Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Them and Luke. 

141. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “But when the 
Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 
And one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, 
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the 
first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour 
as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This is re- 
corded also by Mark, and that too in the same order. Neither should there be any difficulty 
in the statement made by Matthew, to the effect that the person by whom the question was 
put to the Lord tempted Him; whereas Mark 1169 says nothing about that, but tells us at the 
end of the paragraph how the Lord said to the man, as to one who answered discreetly, 
“Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” For it is quite possible that, although the man 
approached Him with the view of tempting Him, he may have been set right by the Lord’s 
response. Or we need not at any rate take the tempting referred to in a bad sense, as if it 
were the device of one who sought to deceive an adversary; but we may rather suppose it to 
have been the result of caution, as if it were the act of one who wished to have further trial 
of a person who was unknown to him. For it is not without a good purpose that this sentence 
has been written, “He that is hasty to give credit is light-minded, and shall be impaired.” 1 170 

142. Luke, on the other hand, not indeed in this order, but in a widely different connec- 
tion, introduces something which resembles this. But whether in that passage he is ac- 
tually recording this same incident, or whether the person with whom the Lord [is repres- 
ented to have] dealt in a similar manner there on the subject of those two commandments 
is quite another individual, is altogether uncertain. At the same time, it may appear right 
to regard the person who is introduced by Luke as a different individual from the one before 
us here, not only on the ground of the remarkable divergence in the order of narration, but 
also because he is there reported to have replied to a question which was addressed to him 
by the Lord, and in that reply to have himself mentioned those two precepts. The same 


1168 Matt. xxii. 34-40. 

1169 Another but evidently faulty reading is sometimes found here, — namely, Lucas autem hoc tacet et in 
fine Marcus , etc. = whereas Luke says nothing about that, and Mark tells us, etc. 

1170 Minorabitur. Ecclus. xix. 4. 

1171 Luke x. 25-37. 


380 


Of the Person to Whom the Two Precepts Concerning the Love of God and the... 


opinion is further confirmed by the fact that, after telling us how the Lord said to him, “This 
do, and thou shall live,” — thus instructing him to do that great thing which, according to 
his own answer, was contained in the law, — the evangelist follows up what had passed with 
the statement, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neigh- 
hour?” Thereupon, too [according to Luke] , the Lord told the story of the man who was 

going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers. Consequently, considering 
that this individual is described at the outset as tempting Christ, and is represented to have 
repeated the two commandments in his reply; and considering, further, that after the 
counsel which was given by the Lord in the words, “This do, and thou shalt live,” he is not 
commended as good, but, on the contrary, has this said of him, “But he, willing to justify 
himself,” etc., whereas the person who is mentioned in parallel order both by Mark and by 
Luke received a commendation so marked, that the Lord spake to him in these terms, “Thou 
art not far from the kingdom of God,” — the more probable view is that which takes the 
person who appears on that occasion to be a different individual from the man who comes 
before us here. 


1172 Luke x. 29. 


381 


Of the Passage in Which the Jews are Asked to Say Whose Son They Suppose... 


Chapter LXXIV. — Of the Passage in Which the Jews are Asked to Say Whose Son 
They Suppose Christ to Be; And of the Question Whether There is Not a Discrep- 
ancy Between Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists, in So Far as He States 
the Inquiry to Have Been, “What Think Ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?” And 
Tells Us that to This They Replied, “The Son of David;” Whereas the Others Put 
It Thus, “How Say the Scribes that Christ is David’s Son?” 

143. Matthew goes on thus: “Now when the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus 
asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The 
son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord, saying, 
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy 
footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer 

1 1 73 

Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” 
This is given also by Mark in due course, and in the same order. 11/4 Luke, again, only omits 
mention of the person who asked the Lord which was the first commandment in the law, 
and, after passing over that incident in silence, observes the same order once more as the 
others, narrating just as these, do this question which the Lord put to the Jews concerning 
Christ, as to how He was David’s son. Neither is the sense at all affected by the circum- 
stance that, as Matthew puts it, when Jesus had asked them what they thought of Christ, 
and whose son He was, they [the Pharisees] replied, “The son of David,” and then He pro- 
posed the further query as to how David then called Him Lord; whereas, according to the 
version presented by the other two, Mark and Luke, we do not find either that these persons 
were directly interrogated, or that they made any answer. For we ought to take this view of 
the matter, namely, that these two evangelists have introduced the sentiments which were 
expressed by the Lord Himself after the reply made by those parties, and have recorded the 
terms in which He spoke in the hearing of those whom He wished profitably to instruct in 
His authority, and to turn away from the teaching of the scribes, and whose knowledge of 
Christ amounted then only to this, that He was made of the seed of David according to the 
flesh, while they did not understand that He was God, and on that ground also the Lord 
even of David. It is in this way, therefore, that in the accounts given by these two evangelists, 
the Lord is mentioned in a manner which makes it appear as if He was discoursing on the 
subject of these erroneous teachers to men whom He desired to see delivered from the errors 
in which these scribes were involved. Thus, too, the question, which is presented by Matthew 
in the form, “What say ye?” is to be taken not as addressed directly to these [Pharisees] , but 


1173 Matt. xxii. 41-46. 

1174 Mark xii. 35-37. 

1175 Luke xx. 41-44. 


382 


Of the Passage in Which the Jews are Asked to Say Whose Son They Suppose... 


rather as expressed only with reference to those parties, and directed really to the persons 
whom He was desirous of instructing. 


383 



Of the Pharisees Who Sit in the Seat of Moses, and Enjoin Things Which They... 


Chapter LXXV. — Of the Pharisees Who Sit in the Seat of Moses, and Enjoin Things 
Which They Do Not, and of the Other Words Spoken by the Lord Against These 
Same Pharisees; Of the Question Whether Matthew’s Narrative Agrees Here 
with Those Which are Given by the Other Two Evangelists, and in Particular 
with that of Luke, Who Introduces a Passage Resembling This One, Although 
It is Brought in Not in This Order, But in Another Connection. 

144. Matthew proceeds with his account, observing the following order of narration: 
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees 
sit in Moses’ seat: all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but 
do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not;” and so on, down to the words, “Ye 
shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the 
Lord.” Luke also mentions a similar discourse which was spoken by the Lord in oppos- 
ition to the Pharisees and the scribes and the doctors of the law, but reports it as delivered 
in the house of a certain Pharisee, who had invited Him to a feast. In order to relate that 
passage, he has made a digression from the order which is followed by Matthew, about the 
point at which they have both put on record the Lord’s sayings respecting the sign of the 
three days and nights in the history of Jonas, and the queen of the south, and the unclean 
spirit that returns and finds the house swept. And that paragraph is followed up by 
Matthew with these words: “While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His 
brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him.” But in the version which the third 
Gospel presents of the discourse then spoken by the Lord, after the recital of certain sayings 
of the Lord which Matthew has omitted to notice, Luke turns off from the order which he 
had been observing in concert with Matthew, so that his immediately subsequent narrative 
runs thus: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him: and He 
went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He